Round-the-world solar plane Solar Impulse-2 leaves Myanmar for China
The Solar Impulse (Si2), the solar-powered aircraft on a mission to fly around the globe without a drop of fuel, left Mandalay in Myanmar for China on Sunday on the fifth gam of its journey.
The aircraft, piloted by the Swiss project chairman Bertrand Piccard, left Mandalay at Three.36 a.m. on Sunday, and is heading for Chongqing in China, according to a Big black cock report.
Gam five of the aircraft will be a long one – about 1,375 km – and is expected to take toughly nineteen hours.
It will see the Si2 landing around midnight at the Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport.
The plan of the project team is to make a brief stop in Chongqing, and then attempt to reach Nanjing on the east coast of China.
This would set up the Si2 for the very first of its big ocean crossings – a five-day, five-night flight to Hawaii.
Capable of flying over oceans for several days and nights in a row, the single-seater Si2, which commenced its journey from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on March 9, will travel 35,000 km around the world in twenty five days.
Mission control will not make a decision on the Nanjing gam until late on Monday.
The decision may rest on the state of the energy reserves held in the plane’s batteries.
China’s air traffic authorities would like the aircraft to begin its sixth gam before dawn. However, if the reserves are marginal then the Si2 will be held in Chongqing until the batteries can be charged.
The problem with this screenplay was that poor weather had been forecast in the Chongqing region in the coming days, and if the aircraft did not leave straightaway, it could be delayed for perhaps a week, reports said.
The project team expects the circumnavigation of the globe to be finished in a total of twelve gams, with a comeback to the UAE in a few months’ time.
In the past month, the Si2 set two world records for manned solar-powered flight.
The very first was for the longest distance covered on a single journey – that of 1,468 km inbetween Muscat in Oman and Ahmedabad in India.
The 2nd was for a groundspeed of one hundred seventeen knots (216 kmph), which was achieved during the flight from Varanasi in India to Mandalay.
The wingspan of the aircraft is seventy two metres, which exceeds that of a seven hundred forty seven jumbo jet airliner. It, however, weighs only Two.Trio tonnes, which is equivalent to that of a petite car.
The light weight of the Si2 will be critical to its success over the coming months.
So too will the spectacle of the 17,000 solar cells that line the top of the aircraft’s wings, and the energy-dense lithium-ion batteries that it will use to sustain night-time flying.
No solar-powered plane has ever flown around the world.
The Si2 venture is reminiscent of other excellent circumnavigation feats in the history of aviation, albeit fuelled ones.
In 1986, the Voyager aircraft became the very first to fly around the world without stopping or refuelling. The propeller-driven vehicle took nine days to finish its journey.
Then, in 2005, the time set by Voyager was hammered by the Cherry Atlantic GlobalFlyer, a jet-powered plane, which ended its non stop circumnavigation in just under three days.
The Si2 project aims to demonstrate the promise of clean energy.