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Solar Impulse 2 Postpones Final Leg Due to Bad Weather

Solar Impulse 2 Postpones Final Leg Due to Bad WeatherSolar Impulse 2 Postpones Final Leg Due to Bad Weather

Strong winds have put pay to Bertrand Piccard’s attempt to complete the final leg of Solar Impulse 2’s round-the-world trip.

Almost 16 months since the solar-powered plane first left Abu Dhabi, Si2 had hoped to head back to where it all began tonight, but the team announced the flight had been postponed “to a later date” because the “latest wind reading was too high to take Si2 safely out of the tent and onto the runway.”

Piccard, who was due to take off with Si2 from Cairo, Egypt at 22:00 UTC is also said to have an upset stomach after falling ill yesterday. When the flight does take off, it will require the pilot to spend 48 hours in a cramped cockpit with only a single toilet, reported.

In a blog post, the team wrote: “We always put safety first and therefore have decided to postpone the flight and wait for [Piccard] to feel better in order to identify another weather window.

“The engineers at the Mission Control Center in Monaco will continue to work hard to identify another window in the coming days.”

Before the flight was postponed, the team behind Solar Impulse described the takeoff conditions in Cairo as “tricky” due to the wind direction. It would have had to take off on a taxiway, which requires special approval from the air traffic control towers.

As a result, the takeoff window was only one and a half hours long before low stratus clouds settled over the airport and made it difficult to see. These low morning clouds usually set in at sunrise in these regions.

The Middle Eastern heat is also an obstacle for Solar Impulse. Rising heat causes thermals that create turbulence that will be too intense for Si2 to withstand, given its lightweight.