First Round-The-World Solar Flight Takes Off from Abu Dhabi

Solar Impulse 2, a plane able to fly day and night on solar power only, took off  today from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, to Muscat in the Sultanate of Oman.

The pilots

The Swiss pilots Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg will take turns piloting the single seater solar-powered aircraft.

The plane: Solar Impulse 2

This revolutionary single-seater aircraft made of carbon fiber has a 72 meter wingspan (larger than that of the Boeing 747-8I) for a weight of just 2,300 Kg, equivalent to that of a car.

The 17,000 solar cells built into the wing supply four electric motors (17.5 CV each) with renewable energy.

During the day, the solar cells recharge lithium batteries weighing 633 Kg (2077 lbs.) which allow the aircraft to fly at night and therefore to have virtually unlimited autonomy.

The route

Flight Route for Solar Impulse 2

Flight Route for Solar Impulse 2

Si2 will take-off from Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirate and return by late July or early August 2015. The route includes stops in Muscat, Oman; Ahmedabad and Varanasi, India; Mandalay, Myanmar; and Chongqing and Nanjing, China. After crossing the Pacific Ocean via Hawaii, Si2 will fly across the Continental U.S.A. stopping in three locations – Phoenix, and New York City at JFK. A location in the Midwest will be decided dependent on weather conditions. After crossing the Atlantic, the final legs include a stop-over in Southern Europe or North Africa before arriving back in Abu Dhabi.

Solar Impulse unveiled the flight path in Abu Dhabi alongside partner representatives. This included main partners Solvay, Omega, Schindler and ABB. They were also joined by official partners Altran, Bayer, Google, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, Swisscom and Moët Hennessy alongside Solar Impulse’s host partner Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company.

To learn more more about this record-breaking epic solar flight visit:

Source: Solar Impulse. Featured Image & Video Credit: Solar Impulse. Flight Route Image via: The National.