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Solar Impulse set off for Pacific crossing attempt

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posted on May, 31 2015 @ 09:57 AM
The solar powered aircraft "Solar Impulse" left Nanjing China yesterday headed to Kalaeloa airport, Hawaii. A trip that is expected to take 5-6 days. This is the 7th leg of the aircraft's journey that started in Abu Dhabi, and if completed will set numerous records for electric and non-electric flight including longest-duration journey for a single-seat plane.
Interesting that if something goes catastrophically wrong that he can not remain in the airplane if he has to ditch in the water. If he does he could potentially be electrocuted by the plane's battery power. Instead he must bail out and gain separation from the craft with a dingy and hope he doesn't land too close to the plane.

Swiss pilot Andre Borschberg has begun his bid to cross the Pacific, from China to Hawaii, in the zero-fuel Solar Impulse aeroplane.
The experimental aircraft, which has a wingspan bigger than a jumbo but weighs little more than a large car, left Nanjing at 02:39 (18:39 GMT).
It is likely to take Mr Borschberg five to six days of continuous flight to reach his central Pacific destination.
He will try to stay awake for much of that time, taking only short catnaps.
His progress will be monitored the entire way from a control room in Monaco.
Meteorologists and flight strategists will constantly update him on the best route to follow.

If, early on in the flight, the weather turns bad or he encounters a major technical problem, Mr Borschberg can always choose to turn around and head back to China or Japan.
But there will come a point where that option is denied to him, and Mr Borschberg and his support team have had to prepare for the possibility of ditching in the Pacific if something goes seriously wrong.
The pilot himself would not go down with the plane because of the risk of electrocution once in the water. Instead, he would bail out with a dinghy and wait for a ship to come and pick him up.
If he succeeds in reaching Kalaeloa airport, he will set several aviation records - not least the longest-duration journey for a single-seater plane.
The purpose of the Solar Impulse project is not really to showcase a particular kind of future for aviation, but rather to demonstrate the potential of clean technologies more generally.

posted on May, 31 2015 @ 11:30 AM
a reply to: Sammamishman

I do hope his journey is incident free both as is and further into the future. when I initially read that solarimpulse was to journey across the pacific I shuddered at the thought of it coming anywhere near the boiling cauldrons of corium belching nasties into his flightpath.


posted on May, 31 2015 @ 11:33 AM
I think this is incredibly important for future solar technology and if his solar batteries are the new generation, meaning they can still capture energy in cloudy conditions, then I am confident there should be no issues.

Although the battery charge does get somewhat low (I assume during the night), via cockpit observation at link below.

There also appears to be a small conspiracy going on in the comments section. Some believe that this plane may also be running on diesel fuel.

edit on 31-5-2015 by InTheLight because: (no reason given)

edit on 31-5-2015 by InTheLight because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 31 2015 @ 01:38 PM
a reply to: Sammamishman

They'll be landing at what used to be Barbers Point NAS in Hawaii. A good friend of mine is on the board of the museum there, and they've rented an AC cart to them for their stay. He'll be posting pictures on his Facebook page when they land. I'll ask if I can post them here too.

posted on May, 31 2015 @ 02:00 PM
a reply to: Zaphod58

Cool. Pics would be nice. I can't imagine what condition he is going to be in when he gets out. 5-6 days, with only 20 min. naps at a time gotta be rough.

posted on Jun, 1 2015 @ 04:48 AM
Unfortunately bad weather off Hawaii has forced Solar Impulse to land at Nagoya in Japan.

Solar Impulse to Land in Japan - BBC

I think the quote from Bertrand Piccard is admirable

"We are not daredevils, we are explorers.
"We have to put safety at the top of all of our priorities.
"Everyone is very happy with the plane - but the weather does not fit.
"We land in Nagoya and we wait for better conditions to continue."


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