Bad weather forces Solar Impulse 2 to land in Japan

Solar Impulse is heading to Japan to wait for weather conditions to improve

The Solar Impulse team reports that the aircraft is making an unscheduled stopover in Nagoya, Japan. The plan was to cross a weather front just before Hawaii on solar day 5, but the latest forecasts looked grim so the decision was made to land and wait for better weather conditions.

Solar Impulse 2 took off from Nanjing Lukou Airport in China on the latest leg of its round the world flight on May 30. But the weather window near Hawaii has deteriorated to such a degree that, more than 36 hours into what was to be a 6 day journey, the tough call was made to divert to Japan and wait for clearer skies above the pacific.

"The cold front is too dangerous to cross, so we have decided to land in Nagoya Airfield, also known as Komaki Airport, and wait for better weather conditions in order to continue," says the team. "The pilot and the aircraft are safe, and safety is the priority. For the next few hours André will continue to fly at a high altitude, the batteries are full and we have very good conditions for an evening landing; we could even hold for a couple of hours for clearance to land.

"It’s a delay that is disappointing to us but, on the other hand, we are extremely happy with the performance of the aircraft. André’s flight will have lasted around 40 hours and this will be the longest flight ever made by a solar-powered airplane in terms of both duration and distance. The airplane has perfectly undertaken its first ever day-and-night cycle and in this regard the flight is already a success. It’s just the weather that doesn’t fit, everything we could control has been done to our satisfaction.

"We are thankful to the Japanese authorities who have been very flexible and supportive in helping us in coordinating this unexpected setback. It is part of the adventure and we accept it."

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