Weather Hampers Solar Impulse Round-the-World Attempt

Solar Impulse Si2 in Japan Solar Impulse

More than three weeks after the Solar Impulse Si2 was forced to abort its Pacific Ocean crossing due to weather and make an unplanned landing in Nagoya, Japan, the airplane still has not moved. Hopes were high on Tuesday as the team saw a window of good weather and planned to launch. André Borschberg was all ready to go in the cockpit when a team member noticed a front moving into the path that had appeared promising minutes earlier.

In an interview on Solar Impulse TV, Borschberg said that right before he was about to take off from Japan the weather prognosis over the Pacific appeared too unstable for him to risk the trip. "Despite the fact that it's very hard, it's the right way to go," said a disappointed Borschberg about the decision to abort the takeoff.

"It's better to get out of the plane on the runway of Nagoya than in the air on the third day over the Pacific with a parachute overhead," said Solar Impulse's co-founder and pilot Bertrand Piccard. The flight from Nagoya to Hawaii is projected to last about five days.

The Si2 remains at the Nagoya Airport where the company's mobile hangar has been erected to protect the massive solar airplane. The team had projected the round-the-world flight to be complete by end of July or early August. But with the weather-related setbacks in the past two months, that target appears to be tough to reach.

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Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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