Damaged Wing Grounds Solar Impulse Plane in Japan For a Week

by Devin Coldewey /  / Updated 

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The same inclement weather that forced Solar Impulse, the solar-powered plane on a round-the-world trip, to make an unscheduled stop in Japan earlier this week also caused a bit of wing damage that will keep it down for about a week. The ultra-lightweight plane requires protection from the elements after landing — but it was so gusty in Nagoya that before the team could erect the inflatable hangar and get Solar Impulse inside, the wind had damaged one of the craft's ailerons (the hinged panels on the trailing edge of the wings).

"The technical team already started to build some spare parts," explained Bertrand Piccard, chairman of the Solar Impulse project and one of its two pilots, in a video posted to the project's blog. "But it will keep us on the ground for at least one week before we can carry on and before Andre [Borschberg, the other pilot] can continue to fly to Hawaii. It's not a big issue for the project itself but it's a little additional delay."

Related: Solar Impulse Pilots Get Ready for Sun-Powered Flight Around World

Expect the pioneering aircraft to take off again this weekend or shortly thereafter — you can find updates on the next leg of the trip at Solar Impulse's website.

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