Energy Initiative Blogs

Solar Impulse 2: Stuck in China

by User Not Found | May 23, 2015

The Background:

Previously, there was a post regarding Solar Impulse 2: a project in which a solar powered airplane is projected to make a trip around the world without a single drop of fuel. This project is meant to demonstrate the true power that solar panels can harness and the innovative services they can provide for the world. 

"Ultimately, the sun is our boss:"

Although this sounds ideal, what the initiators/pilots of the program didn't foresee was the fact that climate has a tremendous impact on the performance of the airplane. 
On May 15th of this year, Borschberg and Piccard found themselves grounded by the weather in Chongqing, China. What was meant to be only an overnight pit stop turned out to be a two-and-a-half week stay because of the cross winds in Nanjing, the plane's destination.

The Solar Impulse 2 weighs a little over 5,070 pounds (about the same as a large SUV). This causes the plane to need near perfect weather conditions, including cross winds of less than four knots, or 4.3 mile per hour winds in order to fly.

The image below demonstrates the path that the Solar Impulse is projected to take.

To read more click here!