Solar-Powered Plane Begins Historic Flight
Seeks to fly around the world in 25 days
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The Solar Impulse 2 plane, which is set to fly solar-powered around the world, landed Monday in Muscat, Oman, completing its first leg (250 miles), reports the BBC.
With Solar Impulse founders Andre Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard at the controls, the plane departed from Al Bateen Executive Airport in Abu Dhabi. The pilots aim to complete the 21,700-mile journey over 25 flight days. If successful, it would constitute the first solar-powered flight.
“It is also exciting because you know, you simulate, you calculate, you imagine, but there is nothing like testing and doing it in real,” Borschberg told the AP, shortly before take off in Abu Dhabi. “I am sure we are all confident and hopefully we will be able to see each other here in five months.”
The Solar Impulse 2 aircraft is a larger version of a prototype that flew five years ago. Its 236-foot, solar panel-studded wingspan is larger than that of a Boeing 747, but it only weights about 5,000 pounds. It travels at about 28 miles per hour, reaching an altitude of approximately 28,000 feet.
“Everybody was just hoping the airplane will go,” Piccard told the AP. “Now the adventure has started.”