Solar Impulse plane forced to land in Japan after bad weather

The plane has set off on the most ambitious leg of its journey — but didn't get very far

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The Independent Tech

An ambitious plan to fly a plane around the world using only solar power has been temporarily paused after bad weather.

Solar Impulse 2 set off from China on Sunday for the longest part of its journey, intending to fly off to Hawaii. But bad weather has forced the plane to land in Japan instead.

Japanese Transport Ministry and Nagoya airport officials confirmed that they are making arrangements for an unanticipated landing at Nagoya Airport in central Japan.

Elke Neumann, a spokeswoman for the Solar Impulse project, said from Nanjing that the teams had noticed the bad weather pattern about 36 hours ago.

"We thought we might go through it," she said. "But between Japan and Hawaii there's no place to stop ... so we said, for us, the pilot's safety and the plane's safety are really a priority right now. So we said, let's wait the weather out a bit in Japan."

The plane is to land sometime after 10 p.m., after scheduled flights at the airport end.

The journey started in March in Abu Dhabi, and the plane has stopped in Oman, India, Myanmar and China. The flight from Nanjing to Hawaii is the seventh of 12 flights and the riskiest.

Additional reporting by Associated Press