TIME Aviation

5 Days, 5,000 Miles, Fueled Only by the Sun: Solar Impulse Readies for Pacific Crossing

Relying entirely on solar power, the aircraft will attempt to travel from China to Hawaii

On Tuesday morning local time, a Swiss man named André Borschberg will take off from an airport in Nanjing, China, and fly for roughly 120 hours straight. He will travel east and south across the vast Pacific, spending days and nights over deep, dark sea as he hurtles toward Hawaii in an airplane powered by the sun.

An airplane powered by the sun? It’s the type of thing we dreamed about as children — running with our arms outstretched, circling like birds on the breeze. Kids love airplanes and astronauts — even airports, the bane of adults. Grown-ups tend to prefer our feet firmly planted. We’ve lost sight of the magic: a plane is a plane.

Borschberg and fellow pilot Bertrand Piccard want to restore our sense of wonder, which is why they’ve spent more than a decade preparing to fly their fuelless aircraft, Solar Impulse 2, around the globe. There will be 12 flights total, with the pilots taking turns at the helm of the single-seater. The goal of the trip, which started March 9 in the United Arab Emirates, is to inspire interest in clean tech.

“Adventure is where when you learn to be more open to the unknown,” says Piccard. “There is normal life, where we live automatically, we reproduce what we have learned, and [there are] moments of rupture and crisis. It is in these moments that you have to get rid of your certainties and habits.”

Once Solar Impulse leaves Nanjing, there will be few certainties. A flight like this has never been done.

The 5,000-mile leg will be a technical and physical test. Priority No. 1 is marshaling the sun, Borschberg says. During the day, Solar Impulse will fly high while capturing energy. When darkness falls, the engines will be cut and the plane will soar for several hours, losing altitude. At some point, the engine will start drawing on battery power. Then, at daybreak, the cycle begins again.

The flight will not be easy on the pilot. Seated in tiny cockpit, the 62-year-old will be awake for most of the flight, resting only for 20 minutes at a time. The conditions in the plane will be far from first-class comfort: the space is small, and the temperature and air pressure will vary dramatically through the trip. At some points, he will be able to communicate with mission control in Monaco. If things go wrong, he could be on his own.

For Borschberg, this is the flight of a lifetime. He started flying at 15, studied engineering, and spent decades as a pilot in the Swiss Air Force reserves. He is detail-driven and aviation-obsessed, brought to life by talk of aerodynamics. “I feel at home up there, at ease,” he says. “You get access to something that human beings on earth can’t access.”

Flying a plane like Solar Impulse, which is incredibly light, means working with the elements, not racing through them — a change of mind-set for a fighter pilot. “The more extreme the airplane, the more you have to have nature on your side and not the other way around,” Borschberg says. “You can look at the wind as a problem — turbulence, downdraft — or you can ask, how can I make it my ally? How can I integrate with nature instead of fearing it or trying to change it?”

His partner, Piccard, is the dreamer. Also born in Switzerland, the 57-year-old spent part of his childhood living in Florida during the U.S.-Soviet race to the moon. “The entire country was living for the conquest of the moon, and I had the chance to witness the most extraordinary human adventure,” he says. “When this was finished I had the impression that there was nothing else.”

Perhaps to prove himself wrong, he took up hang gliding and ballooning. He also studied psychiatry and hypnosis, fascinated, he said, by how being pushed to the limit could affect the mind. He went on to become, with Brian Jones, the first to complete a nonstop balloon flight around the world. He met Borschberg about 12 years ago and they have been planning, and fundraising, ever since.

Now they face the most difficult and dangerous part of the journey. Both pilots have trained hard for this — even dropping into water, blindfolded and strapped into parachutes, to simulate one possible worst case. They admit to nerves but prefer to talk about planning, preparation and the professionalism of the team that will guide them from Monaco.

Besides, they say, flight is about facing fear — taking a leap. When Borschberg sets out over the ocean, he will be sitting in a cockpit adorned with photographs of his family — a midair reminder of all that awaits him when he, and Solar Impulse, return to ground.

TIME Military

Second U.S. Marine Dies After Military Plane Crash

The plane crash took place during a training exercise

(HONOLULU)—The U.S. military says a second Marine has died of injuries he received after an Osprey aircraft crashed during a training exercise last weekend in Hawaii.

Marine Corps Capt. Brian Block said in a Wednesday statement that two other Marines remain hospitalized in stable condition. The crash also killed 24-year-old Lance Cpl. Joshua Barron, of Spokane, Washington.

The MV-22B Osprey, a hybrid aircraft that can fly like a helicopter and a fixed-wing airplane, went down Sunday at a military base outside Honolulu with 21 Marines and a Navy corpsman on board.

Block says the second fallen Marine’s family has been notified, and his identity will be released later.

TIME Accident

Marines: 1 Killed, 21 Taken to Hospitals After Hard Landing

Debris rises as a Marine Corps Osprey aircraft, not pictured, makes a hard landing on Bellows Air Force Station near Waimanalo, Hawaii on May 17, 2015.
Kimberly Hynd—AP Debris rises as a Marine Corps Osprey aircraft, not pictured, makes a hard landing on Bellows Air Force Station near Waimanalo, Hawaii on May 17, 2015.

One Marine was killed and 21 people were sent to the hospital

(HONOLULU) — A Marine Corps Osprey aircraft made a hard landing in Hawaii on Sunday, killing one Marine and sending 21 other people to hospitals as dark smoke from the resulting fire billowed into the sky.

The injuries ranged from critical to minor, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific spokesman Capt. Alex Lim said.

The tilt-rotor MV-22 Osprey, which can take off and land like a helicopter but flies like an airplane, had a “hard-landing mishap” at about 11:40 a.m., the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit said in a statement.

The cause of the crash was under investigation, Lim said.

Twenty-two people were aboard the aircraft, including 21 Marines and one Navy corpsman assigned to the unit, spokesman Capt. Brian Block said in an email.

The 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit is based at Camp Pendleton in California and is in Hawaii for about a week for training. The Osprey was being used for training at Bellows Air Force Station on Oahu at the time of the hard landing.

Kimberly Hynd said she was hiking the popular Lanikai Pillbox Trail and could see three Osprey aircraft performing maneuvers from her vantage point in the hills above Bellows. She noticed them kicking up dirt but then saw smoke and fire. Hynd, who estimated she was 2 to 3 miles away, didn’t hear the sound of a large crash.

“It looked like they were doing some sort of maneuver or formation — and so I was taking pictures of it because usually you can’t see them that close up,” Hynd said.

Donald Gahit said he saw smoke rising in the air from Bellows when he looked outside his house after hearing sirens pass by.

“At first I thought it was clouds, but it was moving fast and it was pretty dark,” the Waimanalo resident said.

Ospreys may be equipped with radar, lasers and a missile defense system. Each can carry 24 Marines into combat.

Built by Boeing Co. and Bell, a unit of Textron Inc., the Osprey program was nearly scrapped after a history of mechanical failures and two test crashes that killed 23 Marines in 2000.

The aircraft have since been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Some Osprey are also helping with earthquake relief efforts in Nepal.

TIME LGBT

Hawaii Bill for Birth-Certificate Gender Change Passes

Kaleo Ramos, left, and Rebecca Copeland, right, react outside a legislative hearing room on April 30, 2015, in Honolulu.
Cathy Bussewitz—AP Kaleo Ramos, left, and Rebecca Copeland, right, react outside a legislative hearing room in Honolulu on April 30, 2015

"This really is the beginning for trans equality," said Kaleo Ramos, a transgender man

(HONOLULU) — The Hawaii Legislature passed a bill that could make it a lot easier for transgender people to change their gender on their birth certificates, joining a growing number of states to make the change.

Right now, people in Hawaii are required to undergo gender reassignment surgery if they want to make that change. But the state House and Senate approved a bill Tuesday that removes the surgical requirement, sending the bill to Gov. David Ige.

That was welcome news to those who feel that the gender they were assigned at birth doesn’t reflect the gender they identify with in daily life.

“This really is the beginning for trans equality,” said Kaleo Ramos, a transgender man who was born female and who pushed for the legislation.

Many people don’t want to have surgery or can’t afford the hefty price tag, which can cost $20,000 to switch from female to male — just on the bottom, Ramos said.

Having identification that doesn’t match one’s outward appearance causes problems applying for jobs, student loans, health insurance and other services. The change could pave the way for transgender people to access life’s necessities and participate more fully in society, advocates said. Under the proposal, those who want to change their identity could present a note from a physician.

It also could help reduce incidents of suicide in the transgender community, said Rebecca Copeland, parent advocate with Equality Hawaii, whose has a 14-year-old transgender son.

“It’s the lack of recognition in society that really hurts people,” Copeland said. “When people look at it and it doesn’t reflect who they are it can really have devastating consequences.”

At least six other states have made similar changes to their birth certificate laws.

Not everyone in the Hawaii Legislature supported the bill. The state could end up issuing false documents that could lead to faulty passports, Republican Sen. Sam Slom said.

“We’re going down a very sketchy path here and in effect doctoring the truth,” Slom said. “You’re either born a man or a woman and that’s the way it is.”

While the bill would help those who identify as male or female, there’s a whole spectrum of gender identification for those whose identity falls somewhere in-between, Copeland said.

“That’s a fight for another day,” Copeland said.

TIME hawaii

Fatal Shark Attack in Maui Prompts Beach Closures

The area will be closed until at least noon Thursday

HONOLULU — A shark killed a 65-year-old woman in an attack off the shore of Maui on Wednesday, officials said.

Maui Fire Department said in a statement that the unresponsive woman was found by snorkelers about 200 yards from shore and was taken to the beach at a popular surfing spot. Paramedics attempted lifesaving efforts but were unsuccessful.

Injuries on the victim’s torso suggest she was attacked by a shark, fire officials said in the statement.

The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources released a statement saying the attack occurred in the Kanahena Cove area of Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve on Maui.

Kekoa Kaluhiwa, first deputy director of state Department of Land and Natural Resources, said at a news conference in Honolulu that the incident is being investigated. He said staff would be posting additional signage along the coast.

“Our condolence goes out to the family of the victim,” he said.

Crews cleared the water using jet skis, and the Department of Land and Natural Resources closed the area to swimmers, divers and other ocean activities. The area will be closed until at least noon Thursday, when officials will assess the scene and decide if it is safe to reopen.

There are no reported witnesses of the shark attack, which was the first fatal encounter of the year in Hawaii.

TIME Addiction

Hawaii Set to Become First State to Raise Smoking Age to 21

TIME.com stock photos E-Cig Electronic Cigarette Smoke
Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

The bill covers both cigarette and e-cigarette use

Hawaii is set to become the first state to pass a law banning the sale, use and possession of cigarettes and e-cigarettes to people under the age of 21.

If a bill approved by Hawaii lawmakers on Friday is signed into law by Governor David Ige, adolescents will be prohibited from smoking, buying and possessing both conventional cigarettes and e-cigarettes. First-time offenders will be fined $10, and after that they can be charged a $50 fine or be required to complete community service, the Associated Press reports.

Some local governments have raised the smoking age to 21 in certain counties and cities — New York City among them — but if the bill becomes law, Hawaii will be the first state to do so.

Though the rates of high-school-age smokers have dropped in recent years, some 2.3 million children and young adults started smoking in 2012. In addition, a recent report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that e-cigarette use among middle-school and high school students tripled in one year.

If the Hawaii bill passes, it will go into effect Jan. 1, 2016.

[AP]

TIME portfolio

Beyond The Waves: An Intimate Look at the Life of Surfer John John Florence

Photographer Cole Barash's recent book, Talk Story, takes us into the insular surfing community of Hawaii's North Shore.

At 16, Cole Barash was prepared to chase his passion. With the approval of his parents, he left his family home in Vermont with two snowboard friends of his age, and set out for California. There, he juggled the demands of being a homeschooled student and an obsession with snow and photography. Soon after high school, Barash’s move paid off, as he landed a job at one of the industry’s leading snow sports companies.

Now, the 27-year-old, self-taught photographer has earned several of the photo world’s most prestigious distinctions for young talent, including being recognized as part of the Photo District News 30 , which he won at 22. And he is frequently commissioned by big-name brands like Nike.

Although primarily known as an action and commercial photographer, Barash managed to distinguish himself from the rest of the genre with his keen eye for capturing emotion and context. Yet the long hours of commercial work were slowly draining his creativity. “I just hit the ceiling creatively and got really frustrated,” he says. In 2013, when the opportunity came to photograph the famed 22-year-old surfing phenom John John Florence, Barash didn’t hesitate.

Born in Honolulu and residing in Haleʻiwa, Florence was introduced to surfing by his mother Alex, shortly after he learned to walk. At 13, he became the youngest surfer ever to compete in the prestigious professional surfing competition, the Triple Crown. Barash realized he needed to unlearn the routine and expected practices of photographing wave riders – which, in Florence’s case, would be his signature tube riding – and make it a more personal project, both for himself and Florence.

“I want to dig deep into what his family looks like, the surrounding area, and what really makes up that amazing story he has,” Barash says.

The photographer began by shadowing Florence’s family: his mother Alex, a surfer herself, and his two younger brothers, Ivan and Nathan. He then broadened to include members of the island’s insular surfing community, as well as the landscapes of the legendary North Shore of Oahu, where the massive waves made it popular among world-class surfers and film crews.

“Every year, so much amazing action is documented there. I wanted to go 180 degrees away from that,” he says.

Barash exposed about 100 rolls of film over the course of six weeks. Blending color images with black and white ones, the result, compiled in his self-published book, Talk Story, offers a more subtle and intimate look into the young surfer’s life as well as the Hawaiian subculture that created him.

Cole Barash is a Brooklyn-based photographer. His images have been featured in various exhibitions and publications, including the Rolling Stone and ESPN Magazine.

Michelle Molloy, who edited this photo essay, is a senior international photo editor at TIME.

Ye Ming is a contributor to TIME LightBox. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

TIME Aviation

Watch a Pilot Ditch His Plane Into the Sea and Get Rescued by a Cruise Ship

The Coast Guard captured dramatic footage of the rescue

A pilot flying from Tracy, Calif., to Maui, Hawaii, had to ditch his single-engine plane in the Pacific Ocean after the aircraft experienced engine trouble.

Lue Morton radioed the Hawaii National Coast Guard at 12:30 p.m. Sunday saying he was having problems with the fuel tank and would have to ditch his plane, NBC reports.

The Coast Guard directed him to bail near a cruise ship, which was en route to Lahaina at the time.

Video shows the plane releasing a parachute and nose-diving before crashing into the water. Morton can be seen climbing out of the top of the plane and into a life raft where he was rescued by the cruise ship.

Morton says he’s an experienced pilot and has flown to Hawaii before.

[NBC]

TIME White House

President Obama Gets Some ‘Shave Ice’ in First Outing of 2015

US President Obama stops for shave ice in Kailua during Hawaiian holiday vacation
Gary Cameron—Reuters U.S. President Barack Obama waves to people while enjoying a shave ice at Island Snow in Kailua, Hawaii January 1, 2015.

The frozen treat he ordered was flavored with melon, cherry and Hawaiian fruit lilikoi

U.S. President Barack Obama began 2015 by treating himself to some shave ice.

Obama, accompanied by his two daughters and a few friends, sampled a three-flavor version of the Hawaiian frozen treat while vacationing near Honolulu, Reuters reports.

The president’s visit to local vendor Island Snow, where he ordered shave ice with flavors melon, cherry and Hawaiian fruit lilikoi, was also attended by more than 40 people eager to catch a glimpse of the First Family.

“Happy New Year. Hope you’re enjoying the weather,” Obama reportedly said while shaking hands with those gathered.

[Reuters]

TIME Addiction

Hawaii Teens Love Electronic Cigarettes

Popularity of a new tobacco product raises health concerns

It looks like vaping has a bright future in Hawaii.

Experimentation with electronic cigarettes among Hawaii’s high school and middle school students more than tripled from 2011-2013, according to a new state survey. Almost 8% of middle school students and 18% of high school students had tried electronic cigarettes in 2013 (up from 2% and 5%, respectively, in 2011), according to the survey of public school students by the Hawaii State Department of Health. It’s illegal in Hawaii to sell electronic cigarettes to children under the age of 18.

The latest federal data in 2012 showed that 10% teens have tried electronic cigarettes nationwide. New federal numbers on national teen use of electronic cigarettes will come out next week.

MORE: The future of smoking

Smoking of traditional cigarettes among high school students in Hawaii dropped from 2011-2013 and remained steady for Hawaii’s middle schoolers, according to the survey.

The health effects of electronic cigarettes are not well understood. Many in the health community fear that the rise in youth exposure to electronic cigarettes could re-glamorize smoking and become a gateway to traditional cigarettes. Electronic cigarette manufacturers have come under fire from Congress for marketing practices and flavors that seem geared at teens. The federal government has yet to regulate electronic cigarettes.

MORE: Electronic cigarette executives get schooled in Senate hearing

 

 

 

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