Solar Impulse aborts dangerous 'Amelia Earhart' leg in face of bad weather

Solar impulse aborts to Nagoya Japan
Screen capture Solar Impulse website

If you have been following Solar Impulse 2 since the exciting news broke of the visionary attempt to fly around the world powered only by the sun, you will be disappointed to hear that the plane has been forced back by a cold front on its leg from China to Hawaii.

The good news is that pilot André Borschberg landed safely in Nagoya, Japan, where he has offered thanks to the Japanese government for accepting his emergency landing request and is looking forward to another attempt to press on in the round the world journey of the solar-powered airplane. The plane turned back while on the most dangerous leg, a 6-day and 6-night flight of 5077 miles (8170 km) -- a similar path to the one from which Amelia Earhart disappeared.

© Pizzolante, Solar Impulse

Borschberg has to solo that distance, taking short naps to make it so far alone. After mentally preparing himself, Borschberg departed from Nanjing, China, on Saturday 30 at 18:39 UTC, towards Hawaii.

The Solar Impulse 2 was 36 hours into the trip, at the outside of the envelop for a go-nogo decision which the team reported must be made within the first day and a half of the flight plan if the light airplane were to succeed at returning to land in the face of strong headwinds.

Borschberg and a second pilot Bertrand Piccard trade off at the helm for various legs of the round the world journey, which they hope will promote clean energy. A new window for repeating the attempt has not yet been identified. Keep watch for more at the team's website Solar Impulse.

Tags: Airplanes | Solar Power | Solar Technology

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