Solar-powered plane took off from Abu Dhabi on Monday, March 9, 2015 morning
Solar Impulse 2. That is the name of the first solar-powered plane which took off at 7.12 am (4.12 am GMT) from Al-Bateen airport and headed to Muscat, Oman. The plane will land there later on today after it completed it first leg of the journey.
Andre Borschberg is a pilot of the solar-powered plane. The first attempt was scheduled for Saturday but got delayed because of weather conditions. After 13 years of hard work, Borschberg tweeted that this challenge to come is real for him as well for the airplane.
After the solar-powered plane successfully lands in Muscat, it will have 12 another stops on a epic journey. This journey will last around 5 months with a flight time of around 25 days and the solar-powered plane will cross Arabian see to India. After that it will head to Myanmar, China, Hawaii and New York.
The longest time, that both pilots – Borschberg and his colleague and Swiss pilot – Bertrand Piccard, will have to be in the plane non-stop when they will be passing Pacific Ocean between Nanjing, China and Hawaii. They will be in plane for 5 straight days and they will fly a distance of 8,500 kilometres (5,270 miles)
Both of the pilots are linked to a control centre in Monaco. 65 weathermen, engineers and air traffic controllers are based there and another 65 people as a support staff will travel with the pilots. If there is a problem while both of the pilots are sleeping, they can very easily wake them up.
Solar-powered plane hides inside more than 17,000 solar cells built into wings. Wings are 72 metres (236 feet) and are longer than a jumbo, approaching length of the wings on Airbus A380 superjumbo. The innovative designed allowed for aircraft to be only 2.3 tonnes. The solar-powered plane is able to travel around 50-1oo kilometres per hour. The pilots will be using the slowest speed at night, so they can prevent the batteries from draining too quickly.
Check out this video of Solar Impulse 2, solar-powered plane:
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