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Lone pilot of solar plane on round-the-world leg in China

Updated: 2015-04-21 14:47

Lone pilot of solar plane on round-the-world leg in China

Solar Impulse 2 remains in Chongqing after arriving there on March 31 as its pilots wait for suitable weather conditions before taking off for Nanjing. [He Huaixiang / for China Daily]

CHONGQING - Solar Impulse 2 took off from Southwest China's metropolitan of Chongqing on Tuesday for its second stop in China, and sixth stop on its around the world adventure.

Powered by more than 17,000 solar cells installed on its wings, Solar Impulse 2 is circumnavigating the globe to promote green energy.

The plane left at 6:08 am, with pilot Bertrand Piccard at the controls for the 1,190 kilometer flight to the eastern city of Nanjing. The journey is expected to take at least 16 hours, as wind can affect the speed of the solar powered plane.

The plane landed in Chongqing on March 21 after leaving Myanmar just over 20 hours earlier, the fifth leg of its landmark journey.

A brief stop had been planned in Chongqing before leaving for Nanjing, but the next leg was postponed due to unsuitable weather conditions.

The team stayed in Chongqing for 21 days, the longest stay in a city since the plane left Abu Dhabi, its starting point, earlier in March.

Co-pilot Andre Borschberg had been scheduled to fly the plane on its next leg from Chongqing, however, he had to return to Switzerland because of health problems.

During the extended stay in Chongqing, Piccard and Borschberg attended a number of exchange activities and visited some tourist sights.

On March 31, Chongqing Bashu Middle School welcomed Piccard and Borschberg, who spoke with students about the plane, solar technology and energy saving.

The team are expected to be involved in more promotional and exchange activities in Nanjing.

The around the world adventure will take in 12 stops. After the sixth leg to Nanjing, the plane will depart for the most arduous leg of its journey, a 8,172 kilometer, 120 hour odyssey across the Pacific to Hawaii.

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