It was last March that Swiss aviators Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg began a round-the-world trip in their completely solar-powered aircraft, the Solar Impulse 2. Unfortunately, during a July stopover in Hawaii, they discovered that the batteries had overheated, causing serious damage. Now, however, they're finally set to resume their journey.
The Solar Impulse 2 now has new batteries, stabilization and cooling systems, and has been on a total of 13 test flights around Hawaii since late February. Those flights indicated that the new systems were in good working order, plus they helped Piccard and Borschberg prepare for the next leg of the trip – a non-stop flight east to North America.
As of this Friday, the team will officially re-enter "mission mode," and start checking meteorological forecasts to identify favorable departure windows. Depending on the weather and other variables, the destination city may be Phoenix, San Francisco, Los Angeles or Vancouver – a decision will be made a couple of days in advance.
Assuming all goes well with that flight, it will be followed by flights to New York, Europe or North Africa, and then finally to the original starting point of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
A montage of what went on during the team's past eight months in Oahu, Hawaii, can be seen below.
Source: Solar Impulse