Solar Impulse Launches For Hawaii



Solar Impulse 2 was in a solar-powered holding pattern over the western Pacific late Sunday as a weather front blocked its path to Hawaii. Officials tweeted that the aircraft will continue to hold its position while forecasters determine if the one-of-a-kind solar-powered airplane can complete its journey from Nanjing, China, to Hawaii, 4,412 nm away. “It’s fine, the weather is good and the batteries are charging,” the organization behind pilot Andre Borschberg tweeted. “During this time we will analyze where he will have to to find a possibility to cross that front.” Before the launch, Borschberg said he was confident of the weather predictions.The window is stable,” he said.“I wouldn’t leave if I had doubts. I feel really confident about making it to Hawaii.”The cockpit, which has a volume of about 134 cubic feet, is unheated and unpressurized. A reclining seat will enableBorschbergto take occasional naps, when operations allow.

The crew has been in Nanjing since April 21, and has been carefully watching the weather for a launch window for the unprecedented flight.The departure was broadcast live on the team’s website. Frequent updates will be posted there as the flight progresses, and also on the team’s YouTube channel. From Hawaii, the crew plans to fly to Arizona, then across North America and back to their departure point in Abu Dhabi. “I’ve been dreaming of this airplane for 16 years,” said Bertrand Piccard just before the launch. “Now we’re going to finally see if it works or not. Let’s go — this is the moment of truth.” The flight will be the longest ever for a single-seat aircraft, Piccard said.