Thursday, June 04, 2015

Solar Impulse to be stuck for a week in Japan for repairs

Solar Impulse 2 will be stuck in Japan for at least a week, its pilot has said, after sustaining damage to its delicate wing while on the ground.

The plane was en route from China to Hawaii, in the most ambitious leg of a record-­breaking attempt to ­circumnavigate the globe using only the power of the sun.

But mission controllers ­ordered it to divert to Nagoya on Monday, because a ­burgeoning cold front over the Pacific was blocking its path to the US ­islands. Gusts of wind have since damaged the left ­aileron - the moving hinge on the ­trailing edge of the wing that controls the plane's roll.

"It will take about one week for us to repair this small damage," pilot Andre Borschberg told reporters late Wednesday.

"It will take a week in fact to bring some materials from Switzerland and to make the repair, then we should be ready in fact to continue and hopefully to reach Hawaii," he said.

In footage posted on the project's website, mission initiator Bertrand Piccard said exposure to the elements was the problem. "Before the team at Nagoya airport could inflate the mobile hangar, the wing had to be ­protected with a cover for the rain and the sun," he said. 



  1. A solar-powered plane that 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 Thursday....

    Solar Impulse 2 was diverted to 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,” said team spokeswoman Elke Neumann. 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 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

  2. A solar-powered plane has started its second bid at a record-breaking flight across the Pacific Ocean...

    Solar Impulse took off from Nagoya Airfield in Japan at 18:03 GMT and is scheduled to land in Hawaii in approximately 120 hours.

    The team has spent nearly two months waiting for a clear weather window to cross the Pacific.

    The first attempt to fly over the ocean was cut short after a change in the forecast forced an unscheduled landing.

    And another attempt to take off last Tuesday was cancelled at the last moment because of concerns about the conditions.

    This time, the team will not be widely publicising the take-off until the plane is several hours into its flight, as it may need to turn back if the forecast changes.

    However, if the pilot succeeds, it will be the longest-duration solo flight in aviation history, as well as the furthest distance flown by a craft that is powered only by the Sun.

    The Pacific crossing is the eighth leg of Solar Impulse's journey around the world.

    But this stage has proven to be the most difficult, and has been hit by weeks of delays.......BBC


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