Solar plane's night flight postponed by technical problem
Thursday 01 July 2010
A pioneering attempt to fly an experimental aircraft, Solar Impulse, through the night powered by nothing but the sun has been postponed due to a technical problem, organisers said Thursday.
"A failure occurred in a critical piece in the plane," Swiss adventurer Bertrand Piccard, the venture's founder and previously the first balloonist to circumnavigate the globe, said.
"We have taken the decision to postpone the takeoff to another day," he told a press conference and hour before the flight had been due to set off in near perfect weather conditions.
His spokesman told AFP that he was referring to a transmitter on the high tech aircraft which broke down on Wednesday night.
"It's a big disappointment for us," said Piccard, as gloomy faced team members looked on.
"Up to now I have to say in seven years we had no setbacks, everything went very well," he added.
"A few days ago we were discussing until when everything will go very well; well, the answer is, it was yesterday evening."
The ultra-light aircraft, flown by joint founder Andre Borschberg, had been set to take off from the Payerne airbase in Switzerland early Thursday and then fly for 25 hours through the day and the night.
The single seater clad with solar panels, which weighs little more than a saloon car but bears the wingspan of an Airbus A340 airliner, has completed 10 test flights since it first hopped along a runway seven months ago.
It has stayed aloft for up to 14 hours in daylight, with the most recent test flight just days ago.
Piccard said he did not know when they would be able to make the next attempt at a historic round-the-clock flight, which also depends on absolutely clear and stable weather condition, as well as long summer days and short nights.
"I hope it will be as soon as possible because the window to make the flight will end by the end of July beginning of August," said the Swiss explorer.
"We are under stress and we hope we'll make eveything work," he added.
The historic attempt is being monitored by the international aviation federation (FIA).
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
Actress isn't a fan of Ed Miliband
Do you qualify – and how do you get it?
The Mayor of London's sister, Rachel Johnson, apologises for shocking tweet about the PM
- 1 Sarah Vine criticises lesbian mother Jack Monroe: 'If she was unsure about her sexuality, she should have taken greater precautions'
- 2 Black Friday 2014: Opening times for Asda, John Lewis, PC World, GAME and Argos
- 3 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 4 Jeremy Hunt: 'I took my children to A&E because I didn't want to wait for GP appointment'
- 5 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
£55000 - £65000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in their fiel...
£45000 - £52000 per annum + bonus+bens : Investigo: My client, a global leader...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits : Investigo: One of the fastest growing g...
25,000: Sphere Digital Recruitment: CRM Executive – Global Travel Brand – Luto...