Since March we have been following the Solar Impulse solar airplane team as they attempt the first ever Round-The-World solar flight, and it has been exciting. The team were forced to abort the most challenging portion of their mission last week – the crossing of the Pacific from Nagoya, Japan to Kalaeloa, Hawaii. It was unclear how long the team would have to wait for a weather window of 5 days and 5 nights to open up to enable them to attempt the grueling Pacific crossing.
The wait for another attempt was not to be long (they have already been in Japan for almost a month), as at 3:03 am local time in Japan, the Swiss Pilot Andre Borschberg took off from Nagoya on what will be the longest leg of the Solar Impulse’s Round-The-World mission. The team decided to persevere this morning despite several technical problems during the first 10 hours of flight.
This leg of the flight will be grueling and will test the limits of the solitary pilot and the solar powered aircraft in the following ways: living in a small, 3.8m3 cockpit; maintaining his confidence that the energy collected from the sun throughout the day will last through the night; and, remaining physically and mentally alert throughout the entire journey. It is reported that André will sleep only for 20 minutes at a time and will use yoga and meditation to keep his body energy and mindset functioning well.
“The real moment of truth still lies ahead. We are now at the point in the Round-the-World Solar Flight where everything comes together, the engineers who worked on the airplane for the last 12 years, the Mission Control Center who will have to predict weather and guide the airplane through good conditions, and Bertrand who had this vision 16 years ago of an airplane flying for days without fuel to change our mindset regarding the potential of clean technologies and renewable energies” said André Borschberg, Co-Founder, CEO and Pilot.
Bertrand Piccard, Solar Impulse Initiator, Chairman and Pilot who will fly the plane from Hawaii to Phoenix to complete the crossing of the Pacific said: “An airplane flying day and night without fuel is more than a spectacular milestone in aviation, it’s the living proof that clean technologies and renewable energies can achieve incredible feats; and that all these energy efficient technologies should now be used globally in order to have a cleaner world. Solar Impulse is the result of years of innovation from our partners and the hard work of our engineering team led by André”.
Information on Flight 8: Nagoya (Japan) to Kalaeloa (Hawaii)
Pilot: André Borschberg, Solar Impulse Co-Founder and CEO
When: Take-off at 3:03 am local time Japan on June ( 6:03 pm GMT on June 28th)
Expected flight time: 120 hours
Expected flight distance: 7200 km
Tracey is an accountant and entrepreneur with a passion for nature. This passion is what spurred her interest in renewable energy, and the rest is history as they say. Tracey is a principal in Energy Think Group, the publisher of Solar Thermal Magazine and Tek-Think. She is also the principal at Women's Financial Help Desk. She spends her free time in the outdoors with her horses and dogs. She loves to travel.