Zero-fuel Airplane Solar Impulse 2 Flies Around The World
Solar Impulse 2, a fuel-less plane powered only by solar energy and futuristic technology, commenced its tour around the world on Monday, March 9. If it completes its tour around the world, it will be the very first plane to circle Earth while fueled only by the sun’s rays, bringing with it an important message about the importance of renewable energy and clean technologies.
Solar Impulse took off from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates to Muscat in the Sultanate of Oman for its first leg of travel, following 12 years of research, tests and development.
Solar-powered plane and the Pilots
The Swiss-made airplane, Solar Impulse 2, has a larger wingspan than a Jumbo jet’s. It is much lighter than an SUV but it is designed with structural and aerodynamic features never been used in other planes before.
The two pilots manning the solar-powered airplane, André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard, will circle the globe for 5 days and 5 nights inside a 3.8m3 cockpit. The altitude inside is the same as that of a commercial plane minus a pressurized cabin.
Piccard is a doctor, psychiatrist, explorer and aeronaut. He made the first attempt to make a non-stop round-the-world balloon flight. He is the initiator and chairman of the Solar Power.
Co-founder and CEO of Solar Power, Borschberg is an engineer, a graduate of management science. He is also a fighter pilot and a professional airplane and helicopter pilot.
The two will face all human challenges aboard the solar-powered plane. “What is really special, is that it is the first and only airplane in the world which has unlimited endurance. We have an airplane which is fully sustainable in terms of energy, and our challenge now is to make the pilot sustainable as well,” Borschberg said.
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Around the World
From Muscat, Oman, it will then fly to Ahmedabad and Varanasi, India; then it’s off to Mandalay, Myanmar to Chongqing and Nanjing, China. The plane will cross the Pacific Ocean via Hawaii and will fly across Continental U.S.A. It will make three stops, each at Phoenix, New York and another city yet to be identified. The solar-powered plane will then fly to Europe or Northern Africa before arriving back in Abu Dhabi.
In each itinerary, Piccard and Borschberg will have a few minutes with people and institutions to impart their campaign for renewable energy and clean technology.
Follow Solar Impulse 2 live update from here.