Solar Impulse awaits clear weather to fly around

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.



By (AFP)

Published: Sat 13 Jun 2015, 12:30 AM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 3:08 PM

Tokyo — A solar-powered plane, which began its journey from Abu Dhabi and 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 on 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 were waiting to get it under shelter.

“The plane is ready,” team spokeswoman Elke Neumann said.

She said repairs to the left aileron — the moving hinge on the trailing edge of the wing that controls the plane’s roll — were finished on 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 oxygen bottles inside #Si2’s cockpit are about to be filled in view of #Flight8,” the team’s@solarimpulse account tweeted on Thursday.

With the technical hurdles cleared, the project is now waiting on a variable over which nobody has any control — the weather.

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

Japan’s rainy season is in full swing, with heavy downpours expected across a swathe of the country. — AFP


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