Solar plane ready for difficult six-day journey

Last updated at 12:02
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Solar Impulse pilot Andre Borschberg says he cannot wait to take off for the next leg

The first round-the-world solar-powered flight, known as the Solar Impulse Two, is hoping to make the next and most difficult part of its journey.

The plane is powered completely by the sun and has been in Nanjing in China waiting to leave for a month.

So far on its epic round-the-world, Solar Impulse has only had to do short journeys of about 20 hours'.

The plane is now trying to fly non-stop from Nanjing in China to Hawaii in the Central Pacific.

Andre Borschberg: "It's more in the end about myself; it's going to be an inner-voyage"Solar impulse
Andre Borschberg: "It's going to be an inner-voyage"

The carbon-fibre aircraft has a huge wingspan of 72m - that's wider than a Boeing 747 jet - but it weighs about the same as a large car.

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Martin reports on Solar Impulse 2's take off

For a passenger airliner, the 8,000km journey would take around 10 hours.

But for this solar-powered, prop-driven, experimental aircraft - it could take 5-6 days and nights of non-stop flight.

Solar ImpulseSolar Impulse

Completing this journey will involve smashing several aviation records - not least the longest-duration journey for a single-seater plane.

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See the solar plane make its first flight

The Swiss engineer Andre Borschberg, who will be at the controls, has lots of confidence in the technology, but he knows how tough the next mission will be.

"It's more in the end about myself; it's going to be an inner-voyage," he told the BBC.

"It's going to be a discovery about how I feel and how I sustain myself during these 5-6 days in the air."

Solar Impulse: The journey so far

LEG 1: 9 March. Abu Dhabi (UAE) to Muscat (Oman) - 772km; in 13 hours and 1 minute

LEG 2: 10 March. Muscat (Oman) to Ahmedabad (India) - 1,593km; in 15 hours and 20 minutes

LEG 3: 18 March. Ahmedabad (India) to Varanasi (India) - 1,170km; in 13 hours and 15 minutes

LEG 4: 18 March. Varanasi (India) to Mandalay (Myanmar) - 1,536km; in 13 hours and 29 minutes

LEG 5: 29 March. Mandalay (Myanmar) to Chongqing (China) - 1,450km; in 20 hours and 29 minutes

LEG 6: 21 April. Chongqing (China) to Nanjing (China) - 1,241km; in 17 hours and 22 minutes