A solar-powered plane took off from Japan early this morning to attempt a five-day flight over open water to Hawaii, the eighth leg of its bid to fly around the world without fuel.
Swiss Pilot André Borschberg took off in the single seater aircraft from Nagoya endeavoring to reach Hawaii, in what will be the longest exploration leg of the Solar Impulse's Round-The-World mission. The first 10 hours of flight proved difficult for the team that had to solve technical issues before giving the final go to head for Hawaii when Solar Impulse was already off the coast of Japan.
This flight will be demanding and challenging particularly given its duration and the fact that no immediate landing is possible and will be a feat never accomplished before in the world of aviation.The attempt to reach Hawaii from Japan will represent a real life test of endurance for the pilot while at the same time pushing the limits of the airplane to even new levels. Successfully arriving in Hawaii will prove that the impossible is achievable.
André will venture into the unknown and demonstrate his courage by adapting to extreme circumstances, ranging from living in a small, 3.8m3 cockpit; maintaining his confidence that the energy collected from the sun throughout the day will last through the night; and, remaining physically and mentally alert throughout the entire journey. For this, André will sleep only for 20 minutes at a time and will use yoga and meditation to keep his body energy and mindset functioning well.
"An airplane flying day and night without fuel is more than a spectacular milestone in aviation, it's the living proof that clean technologies and renewable energies can achieve incredible feats; and that all these energy efficient technologies should now be used globally in order to have a cleaner world," said Bertrand Piccard, Solar Impulse Initiator, Chairman and Pilot.