A solar-powered plane trying to fly around the world made an unexpected landing in Japan because of bad weather.
Solar Impulse took off on Sunday from Nanjing, China for Hawaii, but a cold front too dangerous to cross caused the plane to make an unscheduled stop in Nagoya Airfield.
André Borschberg, Co-Founder, CEO and pilot of Solar Impulse landed safely Monday night after 44 hours in the air. The trek from Nanjing to Hawaii- a five-day journey over the Pacific Ocean- was to be the longest and toughest leg of the Around the World flight. The plane will stay in Japan until the weather conditions improve.
Solar Impulse is trying to be the first airplane to fly around the world without a drop of fuel. 17,000 solar cells are built into the wings which supply four electric motors with energy. The solar cells recharge batteries during the day, which allows the airplane to fly at night.
The plane took off from Abu Dhabi on March 9th and is expected to return by late July or early August after having traveled nearly 22,000 miles across two oceans and four continents.
While the plane has broken duration and distance records for a solar-powered airplane, it travels incredibly slow. It crawls at 50 to 100 kilometers per hour, that’s roughly 31 and 62 miles per hour and a lot slower than a conventional jetliner that has a cruising speed of close to 500 miles per hour.
In San Francisco, Melissa Aparicio, IDG News Service.