Record-breaking solar-powered plane will take off in April 2016, after spending months grounded in Hawaii with battery problems
Solar Impulse 2, the solar-powered plane that was forced to suspend its round-the-world flight after suffering battery problems in July, will resume its mission in April 2016.
The Swiss team announced yesterday it has raised $20m to repair the battery problems that have left the plane stranded in Hawaii since July. The aircraft made headlines over the summer with a record-breaking five-day non-stop flight from Japan to Hawaii, during which the batteries sustained serious damage from overheating.
Solar Impulse 2 had been due to fly on to the US and North Africa as part of its 21,748-mile mission to highlight the potential of renewable technologies. It will now resume its journey in April 2016 following a series of test flights in March, the project's co-founder André Borschberg told journalists at the UN climate conference in Paris.
"We are all very focused and looking forward to continuing next year," he said.
The plane relies on more than 17,000 solar cells and four batteries to allow it to fly round the clock using only solar power. During the daytime it cruises at a maximum altitude of 9,000 feet as it charges its batteries, before descending and gliding through the night while drawing on power stored in the batteries.
Borschberg said the team has to wait until April to resume the flight because they need the days to lengthen for there to be enough power to fill the batteries ready for the night flight.