The Solar Impulse 2 team is ready to continue their round-the-world solar-powered flight. Almost a year ago, pilot André Borschberg and plane set a record for the longest solo flight, flying from Nagoya, Japan to Hawaii in 4 days, 21 hours and 51 minutes, but after landing in Hawaii, the plane needed to be grounded due to battery damage from overheating.
After spending the winter at Kalaeloa airport, the Solar Impulse team was able to repair the plane and successfully conduct 13 test flights in Hawaii, as well as a number of high-altitude training flights with Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard, the other pilot. They’re now prepared to cross the rest of the Pacific and then continue around the rest of the world.
The plane will take off from Hawaii with Piccard at the controls, destined for Phoenix, San Francisco, Los Angeles, or Vancouver. The variety of destinations gives the team more flexibility for planning a route around any potential weather conditions. They are looking for the first favorable window for the flight to North America.
“The primary purpose of this adventure is to demonstrate that modern clean technologies can achieve the impossible,” said Piccard, chairman of the project, in a press release. The Solar Impulse team is looking 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.”