The Solar Impulse 2, the plane attempting to fly around the world using only solar power, is getting ready to undertake its greatest challenge – flying non-stop from Nanjing China to Hawaii in the Central Pacific.
The plane was originally scheduled to take off from China on Monday (May 25th), but the flight was cancelled late Monday because of deteriorating weather over the Pacific Ocean. Thus, it has been rescheduled for early Tuesday morning (May 26th).
It is not the first time weather has delayed the trip. The plane has been in China since the end of March after a planned overnight pit stop in Chongqing extended into three weeks, and then in Nanjing since April 21 as poor weather has repeatedly delayed the flight.
The project team had forecast that the flight, across the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii, would take up to six days and six nights because of weather along the route. But the new weather forecast raised the possibility that the flight would be extended to a grueling seven days, and that was one of the reasons for the decision to delay the attempt. Even the six-day estimate was up from the 120 hours the team had initially projected it would take to fly the 8,000 kilometers (4,971 miles) -- by far the longest leg of the trip.
The pilots and their team had even given the leg a name called “the moment of truth.” Andre Borschberg, a Swiss engineer and former fighter pilot, was going to be alone in the cockpit during the nonstop flight from Nanjing to Hawaii. "I am feeling a bit high, actually, in the sense that we have been working hard to find a window for many weeks," said Borschberg. "I knew it would take time ... but it wasn't easy to wait."
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