Pilot Attempts 5 Day Flight In Solar Plane

Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent
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André Borschberg took off Monday from Japan in a solar plane attempting to set a world record for the longest flight duration ever flown by a single pilot (five days) on his way to Hawaii.

The Solar Impulse II is attempting to become the first electric plane to circumvent the globe. It started its journey in March taking off from Abu Dhabi and it must reach Dubai again before October, when the northern hemisphere’s daylight hours become too short for the solar plane.

As Borschberg is flying solo, he has to change his sleeping pattern to taking eight 20-minute naps a day. The longest he has lasted in a flight simulator was three days and nights. To help deal with the physical toll, Borschberg also practices yoga.

Its predecessor, The Solar Impulse I had almost ended in disaster, when during a flight the undercover of a wing came loose. It is imperative that there are clear skies for the upcoming journey to Hawaii as the flight was set to originate from China, but a change in the weather caused the wind battered plane to be grounded in Nagoya, Japan.

The plane cruises at 40 miles per hours and The Solar Impulse project has cost $150 million over the course of the last 12 years.

You can watch a live transmission here.