World touring solar plane's final leg to UAE delayed

July 17, 2016
Solar-powered Solar Impulse 2 aircraft lands at Cairo International Airport on July 13, 2016, for the penultimate stage of its world tour

The final leg of an unprecedented world tour by a solar-powered plane was postponed Saturday due to the pilot's health, he said in a message on Twitter.

The Solar Impulse 2 had been scheduled to leave Cairo for Abu Dhabi.

"I'm sick. Stomach upset. I prefer to postpone the take-off @solarimpulse. I cannot go flying for 48 hours in that shape. Sorry," Bertrand Piccard wrote on Twitter.

The aircraft had arrived in Cairo on Wednesday after a two-day flight from Spain, finishing the 3,745 kilometre (2,327 mile) journey with an average speed of 76.7 kilometres an hour.

It had earlier landed in Seville after completing the first solo transatlantic flight powered only by sunlight, flying through the night with energy stored in its 17,000 photovoltaic cells.

Piccard had completed the 6,765 transatlantic flight in 71 hours.

The plane is being flown on its 35,400-kilometre (22,000 mile) trip in stages, with Piccard and his Swiss compatriot Andre Borschberg alternating at the controls of the single-seat plane.

"So Piccard was not feeling well yesterday. Was much better this morning. And then again tonight things got a bit worse. So we took the decision... it's not an easy decision but it's a wise decision for safety reasons," Borschberg told journalists who had assembled to watch the plane take off in Cairo.

The plane should depart during "the next weather window," he said. "Sometime in the middle of the week."

Borschberg had piloted the plane in its 8,924 kilometre (5,545 mile) flight from Japan to Hawaii in 118 hours, breaking the previous record for the longest uninterrupted journey in aviation history.

The Solar Impulse 2 embarked on its journey in Abu Dhabi in March 2015.

Both pilots have described flying the plane as a delight, but they have to be in good condition for the long flights.

Piccard had said that the pilots take 20 minute naps as the plane, which is no heavier than a large car but with the wingspan of a Boeing 747, inches across the sky.

"It is comfortable. But of course you need to train for that. You need to train to make some exercise in the capsule, in the cockpit, because otherwise after several days you cannot move your legs and your arms anymore," Piccard had said when the landed in Cairo.

Borschberg and Piccard have said they want to raise awareness of and technologies with their project.

But they do not expect commercial solar-powered planes any time soon.

Explore further: Solar plane leaves Spain for penultimate leg of world tour (Update)

Related Stories

Solar plane powers on over Atlantic after turbulence

June 22, 2016

The Solar Impulse 2 plane went through "a long night of turbulence" over the Atlantic, its weary pilot said Wednesday as he continued on the challenging leg of its sun-powered trip around the world.

Recommended for you

A not-quite-random walk demystifies the algorithm

December 15, 2017

The algorithm is having a cultural moment. Originally a math and computer science term, algorithms are now used to account for everything from military drone strikes and financial market forecasts to Google search results.

US faces moment of truth on 'net neutrality'

December 14, 2017

The acrimonious battle over "net neutrality" in America comes to a head Thursday with a US agency set to vote to roll back rules enacted two years earlier aimed at preventing a "two-speed" internet.

FCC votes along party lines to end 'net neutrality' (Update)

December 14, 2017

The Federal Communications Commission repealed the Obama-era "net neutrality" rules Thursday, giving internet service providers like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T a free hand to slow or block websites and apps as they see fit ...

The wet road to fast and stable batteries

December 14, 2017

An international team of scientists—including several researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory—has discovered an anode battery material with superfast charging and stable operation ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (2) Jul 17, 2016
flying through the night with energy stored in its 17,000 photovoltaic cells
E energy is stored in the batteries - not in the photovoltaic cells.

It would be cool tech, though, if the cells were to function as batteres at the same time (mainly for standalone machines like cars and planes where. For tech that is interconnected it makes more sense to have production and storage reside with two separate systems)

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.