It's another step close for Solar Impulse to achieve first of its big ocean crossings – a five-day, five-night flight to Hawaii as the vehicle left Mandalay in Myanmar (Burma) just after 21:00 GMT on March 29, and is heading for Chongqing in China. Solar Impulse will make a brief stop in Chongqing, and then will reach Nanjing on the east coast of the country.
China's air traffic authorities would like the team to start the sixth leg before dawn. But if the reserves are marginal then Solar Impulse will be held in Chongqing until the batteries can be charged. The problem with this scenario is that poor weather is forecast in the Chongqing region in the coming days, and if Solar Impulse does not leave straightaway, it could be delayed for perhaps a week.
Solar Impulse took off from Mandalay International Airport in darkness at 03:36 local time, March 30 (21:06 GMT March 29). Leg five is long one - about 1,375km - and is expected to take roughly 19 hours. It would see Solar Impulse landing around midnight local time at Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport.
Solar Impulse has a wingspan of 72m - bigger than that of a 747 jumbo jet airliner - but only weighs 2.3 tonnes. Its four propellers are dependent on the electricity from 17,000 solar cells that line the top of the wings. During the night, the props' motors must call on the excess energy generated and stored during the day in lithium-ion batteries.
In the past month, Solar Impulse has set two world records for manned solar-powered flight. The first was for the longest distance covered on a single journey - that of 1,468km between Muscat, Oman, and Ahmedabad, India. The second was for a groundspeed of 117 knots (216km/h; 135mph), which was achieved during the leg into Mandalay, Myanmar, from Varanasi, India. So far, no solar-powered plane has ever flown around the world.
Source/Photo Source: BBC