Monday, March 30, 2015

Solar powered plane reaches China

The first solar plane making a round-the-world flight entered Chinese airspace on Monday in its fifth leg that proved the most challenging since its start from Abu Dhabi.

Solar Impulse 2 (Si2) was scheduled to land at Chongqing in China at 1am local time Tuesday (UAE time 9pm Monday), a spokesperson told Gulf News. “All is going well so far. [Betrand] Piccard [who is piloting the plane] is very happy,” Elke Neumann, a press officer at Solar Impulse, said on the phone from Nanjing in China, where she and her teammates have already arrived for advanced preparations for the flight’s sixth leg.

However, the flight’s planned departure after a few hours of landing at Chongqing for Nanjing has been cancelled due to possible bad weather, she said.

“I wish we could fly on Wednesday, but we have to wait for the weather forecast,” Neumann said.

Piccard and the team are delighted that a challenging flight has been successfully completed.

The 19-hour-long flight of 1,375 kilometres from Mandalay in Myanmar was physically demanding for the pilot as he had to use an oxygen mask for almost 15 hours in the unpressurised cockpit, facing temperatures plunging to minus 20 degrees Celsius.

The flight was demanding with steep ascent and limited time allowed for high altitude preparation while flying over the Himalayas at the beginning of the flight.

During the pit stop at Chongqing in China, a solar cell of the flight, which was damaged during the stay in Myanmar, will be repaired, Neumann said. The damage reduced the flight’s capacity to capture solar energy by two per cent.

As bad weather has delayed the departure from Chongqing, the team is not bothered about the amount of energy remaining in the batteries after landing. Otherwise the decision on immediate departure would have depended on this factor.

André Borschberg will continue onward to Nanjing in China from Chongqing.

During the coming months, Piccard and Borschberg will cross the Pacific Ocean and stop in the USA, North Africa or Southern Europe before returning to Abu Dhabi to complete the circumnavigation of the world.

Piccard (initiator and chairman) and Borschberg (co-founder and CEO), will continue their journey, travelling 35,000 kilometres around the globe, accumulating 500 flight hours over five months, to spread the message that clean technologies can be achieved through a pioneering spirit. 


1 comment:

  1. Solar Impulse 2: un mois en Chine avant de traverser le Pacifique

    L'avion solaire Solar Impulse 2 a atterri en Chine où les pilotes passeront un mois avant d'affronter le Pacifique.

    Les pilotes de l'avion solaire Solar Impulse 2 passeront un mois en Chine avant d'entamer un vol de cinq jours à travers l'océan Pacifique.

    "Voler pendant cinq jours et cinq nuits, c'est ce que nous n'avons jamais fait jusqu'à présent. L'avion doit avoir la possibilité de recharger ses batteries", a déclaré le pilote suisse André Borschberg cité par le South China Morning Post.

    M. Borschberg a avoué être légèrement nerveux, car le vol le plus prolongé de sa vie n'a duré que 29 heures. Selon lui, lors de la traversée du Pacifique, toute possibilité d'atterrir est exclue.

    "J'utiliserai au pire un parachute et un petit radeau pneumatique. Je sais comment survivre dans l'océan", a déclaré le pilote..............


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