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Solar-powered aircraft ready for take off after being grounded for 9 months

Solar-powered aircraft ready for take off after being grounded for 9 months

USA

After a record-breaking five day non-stop flight across the Pacific Ocean and being grounded since July due to a technical glitch, the Solar Impulse 2 is ready to hit the sky.

The solar-powered plane which is attempting to fly around the world was grounded in Hawaii last year due to battery damage.

The Swiss experimental aircraft’s pilot Andre Borschberg is elated he will soon be flying his machine.

“I feel privileged to be able to try this flight. I’m sure it’s going to be a fantastic experience. So as you can see, we are all excited but I’m especially excited. So I hope we have good news in six days and six nights,” he said.

In July 2015, flight controllers and the pilot managed to successfully complete the Japan-to-Hawaii leg of the flight, by safely landing in Honolulu on July 3 after five days and five nights (117 hours and 52 minutes) aloft, despite the challenges.

The aircraft is the first aircraft to fly day and night without any fuel. Borschberg arrived to a cheering and amused crowd that day, an experience he will not forget.

He said he was “extraordinarily happy” and “thankful”.

“I think I was privileged to do this flight. It was an extraordinary experience, but above all, it’s the demonstration that this technology works,” he added.

Depending on weather conditions, the airplane will head for either Phoenix, San Francisco, Los Angeles in the United States or Vancouver in Canada.

But crossing the Pacific will not be the end of the journey for the Solar Impulse 2 as more miles lie ahead for the solar-powered aircraft.

Reuters