Solar Impulse Pulls a Fast One

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Confusion surrounded the takeoff of Solar Impulse 2 from Nagoya, Japan in Sunday’s early hours, with some news reports showing that the airplane had departed, but the project’s web site silent.  That was cleared up over nine hours into the flight, with revelations that Andre’ Borschberg and the control center in Monaco had spent hours resolving issues with the aircraft’s systems and determining that the flight would continue.  They did this without the press of the press adding to the tension.

Mrs. Borschberg holds an oddly appropriate flag with Japan's rising sun sending her husband toward the dawn

Mrs. Borschberg holds an appropriate flag with Japan’s rising sun sending her husband toward the dawn.  Photo: Solar Impulse | Revilard

The team made crucial decisions regarding safety and system reliability and made the big choice to continue on the five day, five night voyage.  Weather conditions over the 8,340 kilometer (5,170 mile) course remain promising and motors, batteries and all systems seem to be operating flawlessly.  With sunrise within four hours of this writing, batteries should be able to sustain flight until Borschberg and the giant airplane meet the sun well out over the Pacific.

Joe the Cartoon Shark follows the flight on Solar Impulse's excellent on-line tracking

Joe the Cartoon Shark follows the flight on Solar Impulse’s excellent on-line tracking

We’ll continue with best wishes for the safety of the epic flight.  With a current ground speed of 10 knots (11.5 mph), the airplane could probably use a providential tailwind to expedite the passage.

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