KALAELOA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - After spending nine months grounded on Oahu because of a battery problem, a solar-powered airplane finally resumed its round-the-world flight on Thursday.
The Solar Impulse 2 officially took off from the Kalaeloa Airport around 6:15 a.m. HST, marking a huge moment for pilots Andre Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard, the masterminds behind the aircraft that would become the first solar-powered plane to fly around the world.
Next stop? Mountain View, Calif., where Piccard will fly solo on the plane's ninth leg of 13. He is expected to land by Saturday evening.
In July 2015, plans changed in the pilots' attempt to complete the trip in a year after the Solar Impulse made a record-breaking flight from Japan to Hawaii. That 118-hour flight ended up damaging the plane's batteries, which led to other delays. With the decreasing sunlight as a result of the winter season and the time needed to make repairs, the pilots postponed the plane's departure date even further.
After the new batteries arrived to Oahu in January, engineers began working around the clock to replace the batteries and install new ventilation and cooling systems for them. The pilots also took several test flights above Oahu to ensure a safe next leg to the Mainland.
The Solar Impulse officially took off on its first leg from Abu Dubai on March 9, 2015, expected to also be its final destination.
To see a live feed of the plane's journey, click here.