Technical challenges, groundbreaking flights, rivalry and controversy—electric aviation is going through the same birthing pains that powered flight did more than a century ago. Switzerland’s Solar Impulse 2 (Si2) landed in Hawaii on July 3 after a record-shattering 117 hr. 52 min, 4,480-mi. solar-powered solo flight across the Pacific from Nagoya, Japan. But overheating irreversibly damaged the batteries and the aircraft will not be ready for the next leg of its round-the-world ...

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