The Latest: Solar-powered plane heading toward California

AP News
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Posted: Apr 22, 2016 1:56 AM
The Latest: Solar-powered plane heading toward California

KAPOLEI, Hawaii (AP) — The Latest on a solar plane flying from Hawaii to California (all times local):

6:45 p.m.

The pilot of a solar plane trying to circumnavigate the globe says he has passed the point of no return after departing Hawaii and is forging forward over the Pacific Ocean toward California.

Pilot Bertrand Piccard posted a picture on the voyage's website of chunks of ice in the northern Pacific as he pulls farther away from Hawaii, where he took off Thursday.

The Swiss-made Solar Impulse 2 is expected to reach Mountain View, California sometime this weekend.

The plane is cruising at about 20,000 feet and its batteries are almost fully charged.

The crew says it was at one point passed by a Hawaiian Air plane whose passengers caught a glimpse of the Solar Impulse 2 before the powerful airliner left the slow-moving aircraft behind.

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2:30 p.m.

The Swiss-made Solar Impulse 2 airplane is leaving Hawaii in its wake and is still ascending over the Pacific hours after takeoff as it heads to California for the next step in its journey around the world.

In its latest online update, the crew announced that it was approaching 23,000 feet and attempting to reach a high altitude before night sets in.

Meanwhile, the crew that helped it takeoff earlier Thursday is clearing out of its Hawaiian hangar and heading to Mountain View, California, where the plane is set to arrive sometime this weekend.

The aircraft is attempting to circumnavigate the globe using only energy from the sun.

The plane took off in March 2015 from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

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6:20 a.m.

After some uncertainty about the weather, the Swiss-made Solar Impulse 2 airplane has taken off from Hawaii as it continues its journey around the world.

The aircraft is heading to California as part of its circumnavigation of the globe using only energy from the sun. Its departure was delayed briefly Thursday by the wind.

The plane took off in March 2015 from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

The crew landed on Oahu last July but was forced to stay in the islands after the plane's battery system sustained heat damage on its trip from Japan.

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5:30 a.m.

The Swiss-made Solar Impulse 2 airplane has left the hangar and is taxiing to the runway as it prepares for its journey from Hawaii to California.

The aircraft is heading across the Pacific as part of its circumnavigation of the globe using only energy from the sun. The aircraft took off in March 2015 from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

The team has until 6:30 a.m. Thursday for the wind conditions to meet their standards for takeoff. The winds need to be less than 10 knots for the light, solar-power airplane to leave Hawaii.

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4:50 a.m.

The Solar Impulse team is delaying their solar-powered plane's departure from Hawaii while they wait for the wind to subside.

The Swiss-made Solar Impulse 2 is heading for California as part of its circumnavigation of the globe using only energy from the sun. The aircraft took off in March 2015 from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

The team has until 6:30 a.m. to leave the hangar and still be able to take advantage of a full day's sun.

The National Weather Service in Honolulu says winds at the airport are variable, which is about as light as they will get. They expect the winds to pick up slightly in the coming hours as the sun comes up.

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4:40 a.m.

Swiss pilot Bertrand Piccard has suited up for his three-day voyage from Hawaii to California in a solar plane.

The Swiss-made Solar Impulse 2 is preparing to leave Hawaii on Thursday to continue its circumnavigation of the globe using only energy from the sun.

Piccard's co-pilot Andre Borschberg, who flew the leg from Japan to Hawaii, told Piccard he greatly admires his dedication and strength.

He said the plane "represents what we could do on the ground in our communities, in our cities."

Piccard said the idea of crossing the ocean in a solar powered plane a few years ago stressed him out, but this morning he was confident things would go according to plan.

Piccard also said the flight's destination, in the heart of Silicon Valley, is fitting. He said on his way to the airfield that when the plane lands there, it will land "in the middle of the pioneering spirit."

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4 a.m.

A pilot is preparing to take off for a flight from Hawaii to California with no jet fuel aboard his plane.

The Swiss-made Solar Impulse 2 is preparing to leave Hawaii on Thursday to continue its circumnavigation of the globe using only energy from the sun. The crew landed on Oahu last July but was forced to stay in the islands after the plane's battery system sustained heat damage on its trip from Japan.

The plane, now preparing for the ninth leg of its journey, plans to finish its trip across the Pacific and land in Mountain View, California, in about three days.

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This story has been corrected to note the plane originally left Abu Dhabi in March, 2015, not 2016.