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    Pacific Ocean, July 19, 2015
    The Pacific has really rejected me this year. I'm not just talking about the postponement till next year of the flight from Hawaii to the US mainland which I'd so been looking forward to. You can easily imagine how disappointing that was. No, what I'm talking about here is my return flight to Switzerland... by scheduled airline. Heaven only knows why, but all the passengers had decided to close their window-blinds and total darkness reigned. I could only imagine the sublime view outside as the sun kissed the ocean. For the first time in years, I had failed to get a window seat. I plucked up courage to ask my neighbour why he'd lowered his blind, hinting that it was partly mine too.  He can find nothing better to say than that everybody had done it. That's the answer I hate most. Is it a reason? Not for me anyway, who had been looking forward to contemplating this stretch of the Pacific in advance of next year's trip. I'd had a wonderful view of it from my balloon 16 years earlier - a vast expanse that makes you lose your bearings, but find your own self. But also the little cumulus clouds strung together like pearls on a celestial necklace that will determine Solar Impulse's cruising altitude at night, as well as the spreading cirrus that would threaten the solar exposure of our photovoltaic cells. These drawn window-blinds tell me clearly that this is not my year for the Pacific. At least the message isn't lacking in clarity! Published in partnership with Caran d'Ache
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    Monaco, June 28, 2015
    The  Point of No Return The PNR - the defining point for André’s entire flight to Hawaii. For the first 7 hours, it would still be possible to return to Nagoya if a technical or meteorological problem arose. But not any later… Not long after take-off, the automatic pilot monitoring system gave up the ghost. André could still sleep, but he could no longer be woken up if turbulence destabilised the aircraft. A quick fix was found immediately, but for the engineers, it was still an absolute "no-go". Not for André and me. The weather window is the best we’ve seen for 2 months, a royal road across the Pacific is open, and all the vital functions of the aircraft are in the green. We can’t sacrifice the great leap for something so trivial. There’s deep division in the team: the engineers who built the aircraft want to protect their baby by scrupulously respecting procedures, and we can all understand that. The rest of the team wants to save the project, since returning to Nagoya would rule out a later take-off, with the approaching rainy season and administrative investigations triggered by an emergency return to base. You can’t cross an ocean without losing sight of the coast, even if it’s a frightening thought. The whole team has to learn that lesson… Exploration is a leap into the unknown. André is now heading for Hawaii. As I write these lines, I still don’t know what will happen, but I’m firmly convinced that this was the right decision. It’s not every day that you have an appointment with destiny…   You can find this story on carandache.com
    Monaco, June 28, 2015
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    Monaco, June 1, 2015
    We don’t know whether to laugh or cry… We’ve just fallen short on our direct China-Hawaii flight, this flight of 6 days and 6 nights that André had so been looking forward to. The weather forecasts suddenly turned bad and got the better of our ambitions, forcing us to divert Solar Impulse 2 to Nagoya, Japan. There was a diplomatic ballet worthy of a thriller to obtain authorizations to land and inflate our mobile hangar, where, 36 hours earlier, we had struggled to get permission just to over-fly. All this almost makes us forget that Si2 beat the solar aviation distance and duration records, flying 2,600 km in 44 hours. And what is more - a great deal more - that it was airborne for two days and nights without any fuel! This shows that the perpetual flight I dreamed about when initiating this project 16 years ago is possible. It’s a validation not only of a vision, but also of all the hard work done by the technical team under André’s direction.  So, in a way, this should be the happiest day of our lives, or in any event the most important. Until the next stages of our world tour ... coming soon, I hope.   You can find this story on carandache.com
    Monaco, June 1, 2015
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    Nanjing, April 21, 2015
    It's the team's flight just as much as it's mine. Held up for 3 weeks by the weather in Chongqing, we were beginning to despair of ever finding a good slot to reach Nanjing. Andre had to return to Switzerland for treatment of shingles, so I took his place in the cockpit at the last moment.   What an unexpected gift ! The meanders of the Yangtze, disappearing and reappearing behind each summit; wooded mountains, sculpted by sheer cliffs and deep gorges; thousands of tiny lakes reflecting the setting sun; and here and there enormous cities of several million inhabitants, whose names I've never heard before.   And just beyond the lights of Nanjing, a triumphant welcome from the team, in proportion with their hopes and their fears of not seeing the aircraft arrive. A moment of happiness that gives me comfort at the moment when an sms arrives giving me news of the death of a person I was particularly fond of.   You can find this story on carandache.com
    Nanjing, April 21, 2015
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    Flight summary from Bertrand Piccard
    Flight was more difficult for MCC than the pilot. For three weeks the Monaco Mission Control team has been trying to identify weather windows to allow us to fly. It’s been very difficult to find simultaneously suitable conditions in Chongqing, Nanjing and along the route. Today’s flight is like a miracle, because the weather was bad yesterday and will be bad tomorrow: the MCC finally managed to find the useful window. It’s been fantastic we’re finally on the way to Nanjing, where we can prepare for André to make the first Pacific leg to Hawaii. For me it’s been beautiful but I’m disappointed for André: he was supposed to fly today. Unfortunately he’s been in Switzerland recovering from health problems. So I thank him. My main impression of flying across China is admiration for the varied nature of the landscape. It’s absolutely incredible. I’ve seen absolutely gorgeous, sharp-edged mountains surrounded by forests, dams to collect hydro-electric power and then suddenly huge cities, probably containing more people than the entire population of Switzerland! I flew over a special place I loved: it was covered with long lakes, all shaped like jagged knife cuts between the mountains.  Then, at nightfall, I saw thousands of small lakes shining red, reflecting the setting sun. Then I was swallowed up by the darkness as I arrived in the direction of Nanjing. I flew over some beautiful places that I’d like to revisit on holiday.
    Flight summary from Bertrand Piccard
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    Shanghai, April 13, 2015
    Solar Impulse is blocked by weather in Chongqing. Delays are accumulating. Our adventure is less easy than it’s seemed in recent weeks. André and I do one interview or talk after another in Shanghai for our partners. There’s no way you can tire of the amazing view of Pudong from our rooms in the Peninsula, where we are privileged to be invited to stay. The pace of growth in this city is frantic. For those who still had any doubt, the center of gravity of the world’s economy has indeed moved to the East.   You can find this story on carandache.com
    Shanghai, April 13, 2015
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    NO FLIGHT UNTIL 2016
    Despite the hard work of the Solar Impulse team to repair the batteries which overheated in the record breaking oceanic flight from Nagoya to Hawaii, the solar powered airplane of Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg will stay in Hawaii until early spring 2016.   Following the longest and most difficult leg of the round-the-world journey which lasted 5 days and 5 nights (117 hours and 52 minutes), Solar Impulse will undergo maintenance repairs on the batteries due to damages brought about by overheating. During the first ascend on day one of the flight from Nagoya to Hawaii, the battery temperature increased due to a high climb rate and an over insulation of the gondolas. And while the Mission Team was monitoring this very closely during the flight, there was no way to decrease the temperature for the remaining duration as each daily cycle requires an ascend to 28’000 feet and descend for optimal energy management. Overall the airplane performed very well during the flight. The damage to the batteries is not a technical failure or a weakness in the technology but rather an evaluation error in terms of the profile of the mission and the cooling design specifications of the batteries. The temperature of thebatteries in a quicks ascend / descend in tropical climates was not properly anticipated.  Irreversible damage to certain parts of the batteries will require repairs which will take several months. In parallel, the Solar Impulse engineering team will be studying various options for better cooling and heating processes for very long flights.   The University of Hawaii with the support of the Department of Transportation will host the airplane in its hangar at Kalaeloa airport. Post maintenance check flights will start in 2016 to test the newbattery heating and cooling systems. The round-the-world mission will resume early April from Hawaii to the USA West Coast. From there Solar Impulse will cross the USA to JFK in New York before making the Atlantic crossing to Europe and then returning the point of departure in Abu Dhabi. Solar Impulse is attempting a historic first of flying around the world only on solar energy. And while Solar Impulse has completed 8 legs, covering nearly half of the journey, setbacks are part of the challenges of a project which is pushing technological boundaries to the limits. Solar Impulse will try to complete the first ever round-the-world solar flight in 2016 and this delay will in no way influence the overall objectives of this pioneering endeavour.  
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    LEG #8: LANDING NAGOYA - HAWAII
    Record-breaking solar flight reaches Hawaii after 5 nights and days airborne without fuel. Unlimited endurance is now proven thanks to clean technology HAWAII, July 3rd, 2015.The longest and most difficult leg of the Round the World Solar Flight attempted since last March by Swiss explorers Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg ended successfully in Hawaii. At the controls of Solar Impulse 2, pilot André Borschberg landed safely in Hawaii after flying 118 hours over the Pacific Ocean from Japan powered only by the sun.     Pilot André Borschberg, broke the world records for Distance along a course (6,825.4 km), Straight distance, and Duration for solar aviation, as well as the world record for the longest solo flight ever (80 hours and 5,663 km).   “I feel exhilarated by this extraordinary journey. I have climbed the equivalent altitude of Mount Everest five times without much rest. The team at the Mission Control Center in Monaco (MCC) were my eyes and my ears… The MCC was battling to give me the possibility to rest and recover, but also maximizing the aircraft’s energy levels and sending me trajectories and flight strategies simulated by computer", said André Borschberg, "This success fully validates the vision that my partner Bertrand Piccard had after his round-the-world balloon flight to reach unlimited endurance in an airplane without fuel", he adds.   "What André has achieved is extraordinary from the perspective of a pilot. But furthermore, he has also led the technical team during the construction of this revolutionary prototype", said Bertrand Piccard, initiator and pilot of Solar Impulse.   To catapult this idea to the next level, Solar Impulse initiated the Future Is Clean campaign, calling on supporters to add their voice to the message on www.futureisclean.org: a website serving as a petition to convince governments around the globe to implement the necessary clean technology solutions and help ensure that the United Nations’ upcoming Conference on Climate Change (COP21) is successful in renewing the Kyoto protocol this December in Paris.
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    SI2 BREAKS RECORDS ON ITS FLIGHT TO HAWAII
    Hawaii, USA, July 1st, 2015 - The airplane of Swiss explorers Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg attempting the first round the world solar flight has broken all distance and duration world records for solar aviation (80 hours and 5,663 km). At the controls, André Borschberg also breaks the record for the longest solo flight ever. By remaining airborne 3 consecutive days and nights, producing its own power with solar energy, Solar Impulse 2 has proven that Bertrand Piccard's vision of reaching unlimited endurance without fuel was not a crazy dream.   By flying above the Pacific Ocean for over 80 hours, André Borschberg, co-founder, CEO and pilot of Solar Impulse, is currently also achieving the longest non-stop solo flight without refuelling between Nagoya (Japan) and Hawaii in terms of duration. An accomplishment exceeding the American Adventurer Steve Fossett's flight on board Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer, who, in 2006, realized a 76 hours non-stop flight to circumnavigate the globe. Solar Impulse 2 has so far accomplished 73 % of its flight to Hawaii and is intended to fly approximately 120 hours in total before landing in Honolulu.   "Can you imagine that a solar powered airplane without fuel can now fly longer than a jet plane!", said Bertrand Piccard, initiator, chairman and pilot of Solar Impulse. "This is a clear message that clean technologies can achieve impossible goals!"   André Borschberg is still enduring human, technical and operational challenges, navigating the high tech flying laboratory alone in an unheated and unpressurized 3,8 cubic meter cockpit.   "The first 24 hours were very technical", said André Borschberg, "but the second day was really getting me into the mission. It took me a while to create a relationship of trust with the airplane, which allows me to rest and eventually sleep by periods of 20 minutes with the autopilot. The experience of flight is so intense that I can only focus on the present moment and discover how to deal with my own energy and mindset."   If André's flight is successful, Bertrand will then continue this epic ocean crossing to Phoenix, Arizona. The journey will then take the 2 explorers, flying alternatively in the single seater cockpit, across the USA, the Atlantic and back to Abu Dhabi where the journey started March 9.   The main goal of this adventure is to collect millions of voices for www.FutureisClean.org, an initiative aiming to encourage governments to replace old polluting devices by new clean technology, in order to save energy, natural resources and decrease CO2 emissions in a profitable way, creating jobs and economic growth while protecting the environment.
    SI2 BREAKS RECORDS ON ITS FLIGHT TO HAWAII
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    NEWS FLASH: Flying to Hawaii
    A possible window for a flight to Hawaii on June 28th, was identified. Si2 took off at 18:03 UTC from Nagoya, with André Borschberg at the controls, and preferred waiting the point of no return before communicating about it. Solar Impulse tries once again to make a historical oceanic flight that will last at least 5 days and 5 nights non-stop. Endeavoring to reach Hawaii from Japan to encourage the use of clean technologies, the solar powered aircraft of Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg attempt the longest and most challenging exploration leg of the Solar Impulse’s Round-The-World mission.
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    FLIGHT UPDATE: NO TAKEOFF TO HAWAII
    Tough times at Solar Impulse. This time we got really close but, after animated discussions at the Mission Control Center, the decision was taken to abandon take-off. Watch this video and revisit the story of this aborted 2nd attempt to fly to Hawaii. Third time lucky?
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    LEG #7: Landing NANJING - NAGOYA
    Solar Impulse on the way to Hawaii, was not able to cross to the Pacific due to the cold front and deteriorating weather conditions. Negotiations went on during the day to land in Nagoya, Japan. The Solar Team has flown to the country to prepare for the landing and followed the backup plan pre-established by the Mission Control Center. However, the aircraft doesn't have additional wheels, as it normally does for better stability, which increases the risks of the wing to drop upon touchdown. HB-SIB landed safe in Nagoya (instead of Honolulu) at 2349 local time Japan (1449 UTC). André achieves a record-breaking flight in terms duration, this is officially the longest flight in a Solar Airplane! 
    LEG #7: Landing NANJING - NAGOYA