JUL 15, 2015 6:49 AM PDT

Stranded Solar-Powered Airplane Won't Hit the Skies Again Until 2016

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

It wasn't long ago that the solar powered airplane known as Solar Impulse was grounded in Hawaii after its attempt to cross an ocean from Japan to Hawaii. It was found that circuits in its batteries were overheated from the trip and that it would need to be repaired before flights could resume.

Solar Impulse flies only with energy harnessed from sunlight; no fuel of any kind.

Although it was originally estimated that it would take anywhere from 2-3 weeks to finish the repairs and hopefully get the plane airworthy again this year, the Swiss team behind Solar Impulse have reportedly decided to call off any additional flights of the plane for the rest of the year, and are instead re-scheduling flights for 2016.

"We are disappointed, but not depressed," pilot Bertrand Piccard said about the whole ideal.

The reason for the delay is that the best time for Solar Impulse to fly is now, where the weather conditions for flying this incredibly light experimental plane are the most ideal. The rest of this year, as indicated by meteorologists, would not offer the same weather conditions required by Solar Impulse to provide a non-problematic flight.

As a result, researchers behind the Solar Impulse project will wait until around this time next year, when weather conditions next year should match the weather conditions we have right now.

Moreover, the repairs necessary to get the Solar Impulse airplane airworthy again are taking much longer than originally expected, which is delaying flights even more.

Some time around April 2016 is when Solar Impulse should be able to fly the skies again; it will soar from from Hawaii to the United States' West Coast. It will then fly across the span of the United States, and then back to the UAE, which is where it all started.

This will complete its ‘around-the-world' flight goals without using any fuel of any kind and flying purely with power generated from panels that harness the Sun's vast energy.

It's not necessarily a bad thing though, as this gives the crew fixing the Solar Impulse not only plenty of time to repair what needs to be repaired, but also to perform additional research, beef up some stuff so this doesn't happen again, and maybe even improve on the design before it goes back up into flight again.

Source: CNN

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
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