Bad weather to force Solar Impulse to land in Japan

June 1, 2015 8:32 am
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People take pictures as the Swiss-made solar-powered plane Solar Impluse 2 takes off from Nanjing's Lukou International Airport in China, May 31, 2015/AFP
People take pictures as the Swiss-made solar-powered plane Solar Impluse 2 takes off from Nanjing’s Lukou International Airport in China, May 31, 2015/AFP
SHANGHAI, China. Jun 1 – Solar Impulse 2 will land in the Japanese city of Nagoya, organisers said Monday, as bad weather delayed a landmark attempt by a solar plane to cross the Pacific Ocean.

“Weather deteriorating over Pacific, decision taken for intermediate landing in Nagoya and wait for better conditions,” tweeted Bertrand Piccard, the initiator of the mission.

The plane was earlier in the day in a holding pattern near Japan as organisers warned that bad weather in the days ahead could block its ambitious bid to cross the Pacific.

The seventh leg of the round-the-world journey was set to take pilot Andre Borschberg, 62, on a six-day, six-night flight from the Chinese city of Nanjing across the Pacific to Hawaii, an 8,500-kilometre (5,270-mile) flight.

The bold attempt was called off just after 3 pm Shanghai time (0700 GMT). Organisers said the plane was expected to land in Nagoya Monday evening.

“When we took off from China it was quite clear we could cross the front,” Piccard said on a live video posted on YouTube. READ: Solar plane starts second leg of epic round-the-world bid.

“It was almost easy I would say, the weatherman was very confident.

“Now the window has closed. The front is too thick, too big. The plane would have to go through big layers of cloud.

“The only safe decision is to stop in Nagoya, wait a few days before carrying on.”

Borschberg completed Solar Impulse 2’s first overnight leg, with the aircraft relying solely on batteries charged by the sun’s energy.

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