So­lar Im­pulse fixed but wait­ing on weather: team

The China Post - - GUIDE POST -

A so­lar-pow­ered plane that got stuck in Ja­pan dur­ing an at­tempt to fly around the world is fixed and ready to go — as soon as the weather gets bet­ter, a spokes­woman said Thurs­day.

So­lar Im­pulse 2 was di­verted to the cen­tral city of Nagoya on its way be­tween China and Hawaii be­cause of a de­vel­op­ing cold front over the Pa­cific that could have made its record-break­ing jour­ney too dif­fi­cult.

Af­ter land­ing safely, the feath­er­weight fly­ing ma­chine suf­fered some dam­age on the ground be­cause of strong winds that lashed the air­port while its crew was wait­ing to get it un­der shel­ter.

“The plane is ready,” team spokes­woman Elke Neu­mann told AFP. She said re­pairs to the the left aileron — the mov­ing hinge on the trail­ing edge of the wing that con­trols the plane’s roll — were fin­ished Wed­nes­day.

Pi­lot An­dre Borschberg said shortly af­ter last Mon­day’s un­sched­uled land­ing that it would take at least a week to fix the prob­lem.

The flight to Hawaii will be the air­plane’s eighth and most am­bi­tious leg of a record-break­ing at­tempt to cir­cum­nav­i­gate the globe us­ing only the power of the sun. The ven­ture, which be­gan in Abu Dhabi, is in­tended to show­case the po­ten­tial of re­new­able en­ergy.

“The oxy­gen bot­tles in­side #Si2’s cock­pit are about to be filled in view of #Flight8,” the team’s @so­larim­pulse ac­count tweeted Thurs­day.

The pi­lot must try to find “a good weather win­dow” not only in Ja­pan, but also along the en­tire flight path to Hawaii, Neu­mann said, some­thing fore­cast­ers sug­gest is un­likely un­til at least Mon­day.

Once the team gives the green light for Borschberg to fly out of Nagoya, the jour­ney to Hawaii is ex­pected to take five days and nights.

If suc­cess­ful, that will smash the 44-hour con­tin­u­ous flight record for such a plane that he set from Nan­jing, China, to Nagoya.

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