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Solar Impulse 2 take off from Ohio delayed

Solar Impulse has been delayed as team engineers check for possible damage to the hybrid plane.

The solar-powered plane was expected to take off on Tuesday morning for Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania but was delayed as the inflatable hanger used to store the plane began deflating.

Parts of the hanger touched the plane during the 2.5 minutes it took to reboot the system.

The solar panels are capable of withstanding heat and water but are sensitive to friction. Similarly the plane is light in weight and has a honeycomb structure which could have damaged by the partial collapse of the hanger.

“Let’s remember that airplane safety and risk mitigation is of paramount importance and hence we want to ensure that the structures that were touched are in perfect working order,” said a statement on the SI website.

After an initial check by the team, they decided the plane should be thoroughly examined to guarantee no damage had been incurred .

“My next flight is postponed, unpredictability is part of every real adventure,” Swiss pilot, Bertrand Piccard, tweeted after the event.

Along with co-pilot Andre Borschberg, Mr Piccard have been alternating pilot duties on the mission, with Mr Piccard due to take the controls on the upcoming leg.

“I will be flying #Si2 tomorrow to Lehigh Valley, #Pennsylvania with the #WrightBrothers in my thoughts,” tweeted Mr Piccard.

Dayton is home to aviation pioneers Wilbur and Orville Wright, who invented the first powered aircraft in 1903.

Pennsylvania is the penultimate stop in the United States before the Solar Impulse 2 plane will attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean from New York in a journey that could take up to a week.

The Masdar-sponsored project, which began in Abu Dhabi in March 2015 and is expected to return to the capital, aims to be the first to circumnavigate on solar energy alone.

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(via The National)