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Solar impulse still has sights on Hawaii

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    The Solar Impulse 2, above, touched down early Monday at Komaki Airport in Nagoya in central Japan.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Bertrand Piccard, chairman of Solar Impulse, at the project’s mission control center in Monaco, was beaming after the successful landing and held up his cell phone bearing an image of a Japanese flag.
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TOKYO » Ultimately when it comes to adventure, however advanced the technology, the weather holds the trump card.

A solar-powered plane attempting to circle the globe without a drop of fuel was sitting in Japan on Tuesday waiting out unexpectedly bad weather after making an unplanned landing.

Swiss pilot Andri Borschberg took off from Nanjing, China, on Sunday — Saturday in Asian time zones — on what was to be the longest leg of the journey, a 5,079-mile flight to Hawaii.

But he had to land in Japan, and Bertrand Piccard, initiator, chairman and co-pilot of Solar Impulse 2, told the organizer’s live feed, Solar Impulse TV, that the plane will continue its journey to Hawaii when the weather improves.

The team achieved its goal of the longest flight ever of a solar plane going through the night, he said.

"It’s just the weather doesn’t fit. Everything we could do has been done and was successful. What we cannot control is the weather. So we land in Nagoya, we wait for better conditions, and we continue," Piccard said.

The journey started in March in Abu Dhabi, and the plane has stopped in Oman, India, Myanmar and China. The flight from Nanjing to Hawaii is the seventh of 12 flights and the riskiest since there is no place to land, so the pilot will likely wait a few days for the weather to change.

After more than 40 continuous hours of flying, the Solar Impulse 2 landed late Monday at the Komaki airport in Nagoya, central Japan.

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