Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 22 May 2019

Solar Impulse will fly again in the new year

The team, with help from the 20 million euros raised to make improvements to the plane over the last 5 months, has all but finished fixing the solar-powered plane.
Solar Impulse has been grounded since it suffered a battery malfunction during its flight in July. Marco Garcia / AP Photo
Solar Impulse has been grounded since it suffered a battery malfunction during its flight in July. Marco Garcia / AP Photo

ABU DHABI // Five months in Hawaii might sound like a long holiday, but to the grounded Solar Impulse team it has been hard work – which has finally paid off, as the plane is ready for test flights in the new year.

The team, with help from the €20 million (Dh80.7m) raised to make improvements, has all but finished fixing the solar-­powered plane.

During its circumnavigation attempt, Solar Impulse endured a battery malfunction on its longest leg across the Pacific from Japan to Hawaii in July.

Pilot Andre Borschberg continued the five-day flight, but batteries were severely damaged because of overheating.

“We will begin work on the plane but it will take time and there has been irreversible damage to the batteries,” said Mr Borschberg, alongside co-pilot Bertrand Piccard shortly after his world-record breaking flight.

But now the plane is almost flying and the excitement can be felt on Twitter from the pilots, supporters and Hasan Al ­Redaini, the Emirati Solar Impulse team member.

“The project is definitely happening. I’m looking forward to go back to the team, and I’m looking forward to the good and bad times because it isn’t a magic carpet,” said Mr Al ­Redaini.

He will return to Hawaii in April as the team continues their journey across the world, from Hawaii to the west coast of North America.

“I’ve spoken to some people and we’re all looking forward to going back to the mission,” Mr Al Redaini said.

The Masdar-sponsored project, which took off from Abu Dhabi in February, is expected to make its final landing in the UAE next year.

nalwasmi@thenational.ae

Updated: December 28, 2015 04:00 AM

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