Following a long stay in Hawaii, Swiss pioneers Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg are ready to resume their attempt to achieve the first ever Round-The-World Solar Flight with Solar Impulse 2 (Si2).
After replacing overheated batteries and running maintenance flights, the team is now re-entering “mission mode”, and as of tomorrow, will identify the first favorable window for Bertrand Piccard to fly toward North America, despite the current difficult weather conditions. The goal of this entire endeavor is to demonstrate how modern clean technologies can achieve the impossible.
On 3 July 2015, Si2 landed in Hawaii after a record breaking flight of five days and nights (117 hours and 52 minutes) and around 8’900km from Japan, accomplished by André Borschberg. During this flight, the airplane suffered battery damage due to overheating which led to an unforeseen pause in the adventure.
Solar Impulse was fortunate to find a shelter to protect the airplane during the winter on Kalaeloa airport, thanks to the University of Hawaii, the Honolulu Community College and the Department of Transportation, and received valuable support from many people and institutions, such as the Governor of Hawaii, the authorities of Kalaeloa and Honolulu airports, and the Swiss Consulate.
When the weather is right, Si2 will resume its Round-The-World Solar Flight and take off for North America with Bertrand Piccard at the controls. The team is examining four potential destinations: Phoenix, the San Francisco area, Los Angeles and Vancouver. Based on the learnings of 2015, the decision was made to expand the range of potential destinations to leave a maximum flexibility for route planning. The final landing place will be chosen a couple of days before departure depending on the weather conditions. The mission will then continue onward to New York, Europe or North Africa and Abu Dhabi where it all started.