BLOG: Solar-powered plane flies toward Hawaii on longest leg of - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

BLOG: Solar-powered plane flies toward Hawaii on longest leg of worldwide voyage

Image source: Solar Impulse Image source: Solar Impulse
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

After a two-week delay in Japan, a solar-powered plane is now officially en route to Hawaii in what will be the longest leg of the plane's voyage around the world without using any fuel.

The Solar Impulse 2 took off from Nagoya early Monday after unfavorable weather conditions prevented the plane from departing. But the weather finally cleared up enough that Swiss pilot Andre Borschberg – who's flying solo – and the plane's technicians felt confident enough to depart. The plane is now more than halfway through its flight and is anticipated to land at Kalaeloa Airport at around 6 a.m. Friday.

In an attempt to fly around the world using only the sun and without fuel or polluting emissions, Swiss explorers Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard set out to prove that new technologies and alternative energy sources can make the impossible seem possible. The team includes 90 people – including 30 engineers, 25 technicians and 22 mission controllers.

It officially took off on its first leg from Abu Dhabi on March 9. 

Hawaii News Now is tracking the plane's progress and will post updates below:

July 2 - 2:26 a.m. HST

The plane is flying over the French Frigate Shoals, the largest atoll in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. 

July 2 - 2:03 a.m. HST

The Solar Impulse is roughly 580 nautical miles to Hawaii. After 90 hours in the air, Borschberg is tired and resting. 

July 2 - 12:21 a.m. HST

Although Borschberg has been getting very little sleep, he still needs to remain vigilant and concentrated to conserve as much energy as possible before sunrise can recharge the plane's batteries. 

July 1 - 12:49 p.m. HST

Borschberg just broke the record for the longest solo endurance flight at 76 hours and 45 minutes. 

July 1 - 7 a.m. HST

The Solar Impulse made a U-turn because exposing the tail of the plane to the morning sun maximizes the solar charge, which is now at 26 percent its capacity. 

July 1 - 5 a.m. HST

The batteries are now 55 percent of their maximum state of charge, but with sunrise on the horizon, the solar cells should receive enough energy to recharge the batteries. 

July 1 - 1:50 a.m. HST

The plane's batteries are 86 percent of their maximum state of charge. Borschberg, who has been coping with some turbulences, is flying and resting at 8,800 feet. After 65 hours of flying, he still has five bottles of oxygen to reach Hawaii.

June 30 - 4:23 p.m. HST

The Solar Impulse is halfway to Hawaii. 

June 30 - 4:05 a.m. HST

The Solar Impulse has now been flying for more than 44 hours, breaking its own world record which had been set during its last flight from Nanjing to Nagoya. 

The plane's batteries are at 63 percent of their maximum state of charge and should go down to 54 percent within the next hour. 

Borschberg, who has only been able to sleep 20 minutes, has covered 37 percent of the total distance from Nagoya to Hawaii.

June 28 – 5:17 a.m. HST

According to a tweet, the Solar Impulse 2 has just passed the “Point of No Return” and is flying towards Hawaii.

June 28 – 7 a.m. HST

On the plane's official Twitter page, @solarimpulse tweeted, “The door is closed. Andre Borschberg will open it in Hawaii where Bertrand Piccard will welcome him!

For live tracking, click here

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