Last year, Swiss aviators Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg conquered the skies with the sun's power from Abu Dhabi, across Oman, India, Myanmar, China, and Japan until reaching Hawaii in July in their solar powered aircraft, The Solar Impulse. Soon, the team will attempt to complete the circumference of the earth, from Hawaii, over the Pacific Ocean, across North America, over the Atlantic Ocean, and across Europe or North Africa, finally landing in Abu Dhabi once again.
The past eight months have exemplified the team spirit, embracing setbacks and seeing them as opportunities. After replacing the batteries that overheated during the flight from Nagoya to Hawaii, the countdown has now started for the Solar Impulse team to finish what they started, and head back to their departure point: Abu Dhabi.
The past two months have been filled with preparations, maintenance and training flights. The team have completed both Bertrand Piccard's last high altitude flight and André Borschberg's last training flight. The pilots are now fully prepared to take on the next big challenge: the flight from Hawaii to North America.
The team's engineers at the Mission Control Center in Monaco are busy searching for a weather window in order for Solar Impulse to take to the skies on the next leg of the journey. The first Mission Flight of this year will be long, lasting several days in order to cross the rest of the Pacific Ocean from Hawaii to North America. Before takeoff, the team undergoes regular simulations in order to receive the most accurate weather forecast during the flight. It is only a few hours before the flight that the team can fully confirm it will take place. This state of unknown lasts until the aircraft has taken off and reached the point of no return and is what ultimately motivates all Solar Impulse members.
Source and top image: Solar Impulse
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