Solar plane set to fly from China to Hawaii

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Solar Plane Set To Fly From China To Hawaii

The experimental plane Solar Impulse 2 is poised to embark on the most challenging leg of its journey—the seventh of twelve in its goal to fly around the world on solar power alone.

The plane must complete the approximately 5,000 mile flight from Nanjing, China to Hawaii. That trek alone is close to the nearly 4,500 miles flown on all the previous segments combined.

The team has estimated that it will take around six full days of non-stop flight which is a test for the plane and the pilot.

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Solar plane set to fly from China to Hawaii
Swiss pilots Andre Borschberg (L) and Bertrand Piccard (R) of Solar Impulse 2, the world's only solar-powered aircraft, speak to the press before taking off plane at the Mandalay International Airport in Myanmar on March 30, 2015. Solar Impulse 2 took off from Mandalay, the second largest city of Myanmar, for Chongqing in China, its fifth flight after embarking on a landmark journey to circumnavigate the globe powered solely by the sun. AFP PHOTO / YE AUNG THU (Photo credit should read Ye Aung Thu/AFP/Getty Images)
Swiss pilots Andre Borschberg (L) and Bertrand Piccard (R) of Solar Impulse 2, wave to the media after landing in Chongqing airport at 1:35 am (17:35 GMT Monday) after a 22-and-a-half hour flight from Myanmar, on March 31, 2015. Solar Impulse 2 landed in China, the world's biggest carbon emitter, as it completed the fifth leg of its landmark circumnavigation of the globe powered solely by the sun. CHINA OUT AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
Myanmar president Thein Sein (R) walk with Swiss pilots Andre Borschberg (L) and Bertrand Piccard (C) of Solar Impulse 2 at Mandalay international airport on March 20, 2015. Solar Impulse 2 was met by dancers dressed in an elephant costume as it landed in Myanmar's second largest city Mandalay, completing the fourth leg of its landmark circumnavigation of the globe powered solely by the sun. AFP PHOTO / YE AUNG THU (Photo credit should read Ye Aung Thu/AFP/Getty Images)
Myanmar president Thein Sein (R) walks with Swiss pilots Andre Borschberg (L) and Bertrand Piccard (C) of Solar Impulse 2 after a press conference at Mandalay international airport on March 20, 2015. Solar Impulse 2 was met by dancers dressed in an elephant costume as it landed in Myanmar's second largest city Mandalay, completing the fourth leg of its landmark circumnavigation of the globe powered solely by the sun. AFP PHOTO / YE AUNG THU (Photo credit should read Ye Aung Thu/AFP/Getty Images)
AHMEDABAD, INDIA - MARCH 10: In this handout image supplied by Jean Revillard, Solar Impulse 2, a solar-powered airplane piloted by Bertrant Piccard, lands March 10, 2015 in Ahmedabad, India. With this 15:20-hour flight, Piccard set a new world record for solar distance flight with 1486 kilometers. The trip continues on March 16. The 35,000km journey is expected to last five months and is piloted by Andre Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard of Switzerland. The Solar Impulse 2 is equipped with 17,000 solar cells, has a wingspan of 72 metres, and yet weighs just over 2 tonnes. (Photo by Jean Revillard via Getty Images)
Switzerland's Andre Borschberg (L) and Bertrand Piccard (R), Solar Impulse founders and pilots, present the new Monaco Solar Impulse control center, on February, 10, 2015, in Monaco. The privately-financed project Solar Impulse hopes to achieve the first circumnavigation of the Earth by a piloted fixed-wing aircraft using only solar power. This circumnavigation is scheduled to begin in March 2015 in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates and to return there five months later. JEAN CHRISTOPHE MAGNENET / AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read JEAN CHRISTOPHE MAGNENET/AFP/Getty Images)
ABU DHABI - UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - MARCH 9: (Alternate crop of #465648396) In this handout image supplied by Jean Revillard, Solar Impulse 2, a solar-powered airplane, takes flight as it begins its historic round-the-world journey from Al Bateen Airport, on March 09, 2015 from Abu Dhabi, UAE. The 35,000km journey is expected to last five months and is piloted by Andre Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard of Switzerland. The Solar Impulse 2 is equipped with 17,000 solar cells, has a wingspan of 72 metres, and yet weighs just over 2 tonnes. (Photo by Jean Revillard via Getty Images)
CHANTILLY, VA - JUNE 17: Solar Impulse Chairman and pilot Bertrand Piccard (L) and Solar Impulse CEO and pilot Andre Borschberg (R) speak during a news conference at the Udvar-Hazy Center June 17, 2013 in Chantilly, Virginia. The event featuring the plane billed as 'the world's most advanced solar-powered airplane,' followed the aircraft's arrival at Washington Dulles Airport. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
AHMEDABAD, INDIA - MARCH 10: In this handout image supplied by Jean Revillard, Bertrant Piccard (L) is shown after landing the Solar Impulse 2, a solar-powered airplane on the second leg of an around-the-world journeyMarch 10, 2015 in Ahmedabad, India. With this 15:20-hour flight, Piccard set a new world record for solar distance flight with 1486 kilometers. The trip continues on March 16. The 35,000km journey is expected to last five months and is piloted by Andre Borschberg (R) and Bertrand Piccard of Switzerland. The Solar Impulse 2 is equipped with 17,000 solar cells, has a wingspan of 72 metres, and yet weighs just over 2 tonnes. (Photo by Jean Revillard via Getty Images)
Myanmar president Thein Sein (C) and Swiss pilots Bertrand Piccard (R) and Andre Borschberg (L) of Solar Impulse 2, the world's only solar-powered aircraft, pose for photographs during a press conference at Mandalay international airport on March 20, 2015. The single-seater aircraft touched down in Mandalay at 7:51 pm (1321 GMT) on March 19, several hours earlier than expected, after a 13-hour journey from the Indian holy city Varanasi, cut short thanks to strong tail winds. AFP PHOTO / YE AUNG THU (Photo credit should read Ye Aung Thu/AFP/Getty Images)
Swiss pilots Bertrand Piccard (L) and Andre Borschberg (C) receive a present from Myanmar president Thein Sein (R) during a press conference at Mandalay international airport on March 20, 2015. Solar Impulse 2 was met by dancers dressed in an elephant costume as it landed in Myanmar's second largest city Mandalay, completing the fourth leg of its landmark circumnavigation of the globe powered solely by the sun. AFP PHOTO / YE AUNG THU (Photo credit should read Ye Aung Thu/AFP/Getty Images)
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The 62-year old Swiss engineer and pilot Andre Borschberg will remain strapped in the entire time which means he can only take 20-minute naps for a break. He must also use an oxygen mask about half the time since the cabin is not pressurized.

He must also be sure to capture maximum sunlight and conserve as much energy as possible which entails flying at a higher altitude during the day and drifting lower at night until the battery engages.

If completed, the single journey will break the record for longest-ever trip for a one-seat plane.

Borschberg and his partner Bertrand Piccard spent 12 years preparing for this project to promote alternative sources of energy along with a sense of adventure and innovation.

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