Solar-powered plane set for Brussels takeoff

13th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

Swiss solar-powered aircraft Solar Impulse will attempt to reach Paris from Brussels on Tuesday after a previous flight was aborted due to technical problems, its team said.

The plane took off Saturday for its second international flight between the capitals but pilot Andre Borschberg turned back after a series of glitches.

The team has been waiting for the weather to improve before trying again.

"Solar Impulse will attempt to exploit a narrow weather window between two rain fronts to take off from Brussels on Tuesday," said a statement posted at

The craft is expected to reach Le Bourget north of Paris at about 9:00 pm (1900 GMT) where it will be the guest of honour at the International Aviation and Space Salon opening on June 20.

"There is not much time left now to prepare for the show and the team cannot afford to have another setback," the statement said.

"As the weather conditions over the last few days only allowed the batteries to be recharged by sunlight to 60 percent, the decision was taken to complete the remaining 40 percent with conventional power.

"No record claim will be made this flight. The prototype will take off with fully-charged batteries so it will not be disadvantaged, as was the case on Saturday, by cloud cover and headwinds."

Heavy rain and strong winds prevented the plane from taking off at its scheduled time at the weekend.

Once in the air it turned back, with the project's ground control team reporting that Borschberg had encountered problems retracting the landing gear.

The ultimate goal of the Swiss-based team is to attempt a round the world tour in five stages in 2013 or 2014.

© 2011 AFP

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