Solar powered plane sidelined by bad weather, wing damage

TOKYO – A solar-powered plane forced to land in Japan will be stuck on the ground for at least a week after wind gusts damaged one of its wings.

Solar Impulse 2 was headed from China to Hawaii when its team decided to divert to Nagoya, Japan, because of bad weather ahead.

After landing late Monday, a cover was put over the wing to protect it from the rain and the sun.

“There was so much wind and gusts that this cover started to shake on the wing, and damaged an aileron on the trailing edge of the wing,” Bertrand Piccard, the head of the project, said in a video posted on the expedition’s website.

It will take at least one week to repair the wing, he said. The plane has since been covered with an inflatable hanger to protect it.

The Solar Impulse departed Nanjing, China, on Sunday on what was expected to be the longest leg of the journey, a six-day, 8,175-kilometre (5,079-mile) flight to Hawaii.

Instead, the plane landed in Nagoya in central Japan to wait out the unexpected bad weather.

Swiss pilot Andre Borschberg is flying without any fuel.


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