Public invited for up-close look at Solar Impulse before it continues on worldwide journey

Public invited for up-close look at Solar Impulse before it continues on worldwide journey
The Solar Impulse at Kalaeloa Airport
Pilot Andre Borschberg after touching down on Oahu (Image: Hawaii News Now/file)
Pilot Andre Borschberg after touching down on Oahu (Image: Hawaii News Now/file)
The Solar Impulse touches down at Kalaeloa Airport (Image: Hawaii News Now)
The Solar Impulse touches down at Kalaeloa Airport (Image: Hawaii News Now)

KALAELOA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Before the Solar Impulse 2 re-embarks on its round-the-world journey in April after spending months grounded at the Kalaeloa Airport, the public is invited to see the aircraft in person and meet the crew, the state Department of Transportation said.

The Solar Impulse has been in a hangar at the Kalaeloa Airport since July 2015 after sustaining irreversible damage to its batteries after Swiss pilot Andre Borschberg completed a record-breaking flight from Nagoya, Japan to Oahu, the longest leg of its worldwide journey.

The new batteries finally arrived to Oahu on Jan. 25, and since then, engineers have been working to replace the batteries and install new ventilation and cooling systems for the batteries. Both pilots – Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard -- have been preparing to fly again with test flights above Oahu.

The public viewing event will take place Saturday, April 2 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Hangar 111 at the Kalaeloa Airport. The DOT said the event may need to be changed to April 3 depending on training flights linked to weather conditions. Those interested in attending are asked to register online.

The next leg will take the aircraft to Phoenix, Ariz.

The Solar Impulse was an idea by Borschberg and Piccard, who 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.

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