Solar Impulse to try night fight on Wednesday

After repairs to the transmitter of the telemetry system Solar Impulse should now again be ready for a new Night Flight attempt on Wednesday morning, July 7th.

The team cauthions though that the summer weather is quite unstable at the moment, with a high risk of thunderstorms coming from the Jura mountain range. The forecast for Wednesday and Thursday is currently good, although the reliability index is about 4/5.

If the weather stays stable the prototype, with Andre Borschberg at the controls, could be making an attempt at the first night flight in the history of solar aviation.

Plans call for the the Solar Impulse HB-SIA to be towed to the runway at 5 am, where the final ground tests will be done. Take-off is scheduled for around 07:00 a.m. (GMT +2). The prototype will spend the whole day slowly ascending to an altitude of 8,500 metres.

During ascent, the plane will be charging its batteries to maximum levels. When the sun’s rays stop being strong enough to supply the solar cells (about two hours before sunset) with energy, the HB-SIA will start a slow descent down to an altitude of 1,500 metres. It will then carry on flying, using the energy stored in its batteries, until sunrise the next day. The big question is whether the pilot can make such efficient use of the battery energy to fly throughout the night.

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