Solar Impulse has departed on its 5th and most challenging flight to date on its round-the-world journey. It took off from Mandalay in Myanmar at 3:36am (local time) on March 30, 2015. It is bound for Chongqing in China.
The anticipated flight time is 19 hours covering a distance of 1,375 kilometres. It is a demanding stage and the pilot Bertrand Piccard will require oxygen to survive in the aircraft’s unpressurized cockpit as the plane flies high enough to pass over the mountains. He will reach an altitude of around 7,300 metres and face temperatures as low as 20 degrees Celsius.
The solar powered aircraft expects to enter Chinese airspace 6 hours after take-off. Once in China, the weather is forecasted to be mainly clear which is rare in the region. However, strong low-level winds of up to 40 knots are expected in Chongqing, which will require the pilot to stay on his toes.
André Borschberg will continue onward to Nanjing, China after Bertrand Piccard completes the leg to Chongqing.