After a number of setbacks, an attempt to fly around the world with a solar-powered plane is again kicking into full gear. Solar Impulse 2 will take to the skies again pretty soon, making its way to mainland North America from Hawaii.
Pilot André Borschberg set the world record last year for the longest solo flight in a solar-powered plane with a time of 4 days, 21 hours and 51 minutes, flying from Nagoya, Japan to Hawaii – its current location.
But in the process of pushing the solar-powered plane to its limits in order to make that flight, a good number of the batteries got damaged due to overheating. The plane has been stuck in Hawaii awaiting repairs, which have now been completed.
In the next few days, the Solar Impulse 2 team will get the plane ready to make the journey from Hawaii to North America, with potential landing spots earmarked as Phoenix, San Francisco, Los Angeles, or Vancouver.
According to the team, it is rather uncertain how far the plane will go, so having a number of landing options helps them better prepare for the long trek as changing weather conditions will also play a factor.
The purpose of the flight, according to co-pilot Bertrand Piccard, is to prove that solar power can be used for almost anything.
“The primary purpose of this adventure is to demonstrate that modern clean technologies can achieve the impossible,” he said in a press statement. It is also to “…encourage everyone to use these same energy-efficient solutions on the ground in their daily lives for mobility, construction, lighting, heating, cooling, and more.”[Image – Solar Impulse]