Fried batteries delay solar plane's journey until 2016

Lengthy layover in Hawaii for Solar Impulse 2 after batteries overheated during record-breaking Pacific flight.

    The five-day leg from Japan to Hawaii had been regarded as the most challenging part of the round-the-world journey [AP]
    The five-day leg from Japan to Hawaii had been regarded as the most challenging part of the round-the-world journey [AP]

    The team behind the record-breaking Solar Impulse 2 have said the next leg of the plane's historic round-the-world flight attempt will be delayed until next year.

    The mission team said on Wednesday that the solar-powered plane's batteries overheated during its record five-day flight from Japan to Hawaii two weeks ago.

    "Despite the hard work of the team to repair the batteries which overheated in the record-breaking oceanic flight from Nagoya to Hawaii, Si2 will stay in Hawaii until early Spring 2016," the team said in a statement.

    Record-breaking flight shows the power of solar energy

    "Irreversible damage to certain parts of the batteries will require repairs which will last several months. In parallel, we will be studying various options for better cooling and heating processes for very long flights.

    "We will try to complete the first ever round-the-world solar flight in 2016 and this delay will in no way influence the overall objectives of this pioneering endeavour."

    The five-day leg from Japan to Hawaii had been regarded as the most challenging part of the journey.

    The mission team said that the batteries overheated on the plane's initial ascent from Japan and that there was no way to decrease the temperature for the rest of the flight.


    RELATED: Solar plane starts 'risky' Pacific crossing


    The plane landed in Hawaii on July 3, breaking the records for the longest solo flight in aviation history and the longest distance flown by an aircraft powered only by the sun.

    Solar Impulse 2 left Abu Dhabi on the March 9 and has since flown eight legs of 13 in an attempt to be the first single manned solar-powered plane to fly around the world.

    The plane - powered entirely by the 17,248 solar panels on its wings - is piloted alternatively by Swiss explorers Andre Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard.

    The plane will be worked on at a University of Hawaii facility during its extended layover.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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