Today, Solar Impulse 2 will take off from Kalaeloa Airport in Hawaii for the next leg of its record-breaking flight around the world. The team anticipates taking off at 6-6:30AM local time (12-12:30PM ET) and landing at Moffett Air Field in Mountain View, California, at 9AM Saturday evening. The pilots, André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard, began their solar-powered, 12-part journey almost a year ago as a bid to raise awareness about sustainable energy.
"It's really to show what we can do with renewable energies, and with key technologies that can save energy," Piccard told The Verge last May. "This is really the vision I had in the beginning, to do something extremely difficult, something that people would consider impossible."
Last July, Borschberg and Piccard completed a record-breaking leg from Nagoya, Japan to Hawaii lasting 4 days, 21 hours and 51 minutes, making it the longest-duration solo flight in history. The plane was grounded in Hawaii until now due to battery damage from overheating.
Originally, the Solar Impulse 2 team said that after taking off from Hawaii they could land in Phoenix, San Francisco, Los Angeles, or Vancouver — a variety of destinations that was meant to give the pilots more flexibility in terms of navigating around weather conditions. Now that they've settled on the Bay Area as the landing site, the question is where they will head to next. A map provided by the team shows New York City as the most likely destination, followed by a variety of locations in Europe, Northern Africa, and the Middle East. The final leg of the journey will take them to Abu Dhabi in August of this year.