Solar Impulse Departs Myanmar For China
MANDALAY: Solar Impulse 2 took off from Myanmar's second biggest city of Mandalay early today and headed for China's Chongqing, the fifth flight of a landmark journey to circumnavigate the globe powered solely by the sun.
The single-seater aircraft's team spent more than a week waiting in Mandalay for weather conditions to improve in southwestern China for what will be one of the most challenging legs of the round the world attempt so far.
Speaking on a live feed from mission control in Monaco, Prince Albert gave pilot Bertrand Piccard clearance for takeoff.
"Bertrand, from Albert, you are clear to proceed. Have a nice flight," Prince Albert said.
"Thank you very much my friend," Piccard replied before taking off at around 3:35 a.m local time into the dark pre-dawn skies.
Piccard, one of the two Swiss pilots of the solar-powered plane, will have to battle extreme cold of down to -20 degrees Celsius in the cockpit and the general unpredictabilities of flying above the mountainous Chinese provinces of Yunnan and Sichuan.
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