Solar Impulse gets set to return to the air

Image: Solar Impulse 2
The Solar Impulse 2 airplane is ready to fly from Hawaii to California. (Credit: Solar Impulse)

More than a year after the odyssey began, the Swiss-led Solar Impulse project is ready to resume its round-the-world, solar-powered airplane flight in Hawaii on April 21.

Takeoff is set for 3 p.m. GMT (8 a.m. PT, 5 a.m. Hawaii time), the team tweeted.

The ultra-lightweight Solar Impulse 2 airplane started out on its trek from Abu Dhabi in March 2015, made stopovers in Oman, India, Myanmar, China and Japan, and got as far as Hawaii last July.

The five-day, five-night nonstop flight across the Pacific to Hawaii took a heavy toll on the plane’s batteries, however. The system overheated, and it took several months to make the repairs. The team also had to wait for reliably good weather to return.

This week, the leaders of the $150 million effort said it was finally time to fly.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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