Bad weather has forced a solar-powered plane to halt its attempt to circumnavigate the globe and make an unscheduled landing in Japan.Solar Impulse 2 pilot Andre Borschberg was 36 hours into what was expected to be a six-day journey from China to Hawaii, when he was forced into a holding pattern ahead of a planned crossing of the Pacific Ocean.
The experimental craft took off from Abu Dhabi in March, but it was always known that the Pacific crossing would be the most challenging part of the journey.
No ship or plane is trailing Solar Impulse 2 – meaning any failure over the ocean would have prompted a parachute descent with a life raft into the water.
The pilot and plane will now wait in Japan for clearer skies on Tuesday morning before continuing.
The maiden solar-powered global circumnavigation is part of an attempt to promote green energy.
Solar Impulse 2 is powered by more than 17,000 solar cells built into wings that are longer than those of a Boeing 747.
A statement on the Solar Impulse website, which helps track the flight’s journey, said: “Yesterday we had the possibility to cross the weather front just before Hawaii on day five.
“However, with the forecasts we now have, we don’t see this possibility anymore, which means that for the moment the road to Hawaii is blocked.
“We need all the data from the next weather forecasts, so that our weather experts can analyse what’s going to happen in the next four to five days.”