The Solar Impulse 2, attempting to circumnavigate the globe, took off on 21 April to continue on its record-breaking journey. The sun-powered plane will take approximately 66 hours to make its journey to Mountain View, California, where it is expected to land late on 23 April.
The aircraft was grounded on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, since July as a result of battery damage caused during the plane's record almost 118-hour trans-Pacific flight from Japan to Hawaii. The Solar Impulse 2's batteries store energy from the sun during daylight hours to keep the aircraft powered overnight, allowing it to remain aloft around the clock on extreme long-distance flights.
The batteries became overheated during the plane's initial ascent after take-off in June 2015 from Nagoya, Japan, en route to Hawaii on the seventh and most challenging leg of its circumnavigation attempt. The team stressed, however, that the damage was "not a technical failure or weakness in the technology." Instead, the team said it had miscalculated the extent of the temperature increases and amount of insulation that would be needed for the tropical climate they encountered on the ascent from Nagoya.
The trip shattered the 76-hour record for a non-stop solo flight set in 2006 by the late American adventurer Steve Fossett in the Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer. The spindly single-seat experimental plane is the first aircraft to fly day and night without any fuel.