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Solar Impulse-2: First Solar Aircraft of the World on World Tour
Mar 14, 2015

The Solar Impulse-2 aircraft–the second version of the Swiss solar-powered plane–began its jouney from Abu Dhabi. From there it commenced its five-month-long world tour. On its journey the Swiss aircraft landed at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport, Ahmedabad on March 11. This was the aircrafts’s second stop. After that the aircraft landed at Varanasi and leave for Mandalay in Myanmar.

  • Solar Impulse-2 began its journey from Abu Dhabi on March 9 and made a stopover at the Muscat International Airport in Oman on March 10.

  • Solar Impulse-2 is the world’s first solar flight circumventing the globe without a drop of fuel.

  • Bertrand Piccard and Andre Boschberg, co-pilots and co-founders of the experimental aircraft, are taking turns to fly the single-seater, 2,300-kg aircraft in a journey around the world, spread over 25 flight days of five months and covering 35,000 km.

  • Solar Impulse is not built to carry passengers but to carry messages. The initiative is aimed at spreading the importance of renewable energy and clean technologies.

  • Solar Impulse 2 took the two promoters 12 years to develop and carry out feasibility tests.

  • The longest single leg of the planned circumnavigation will see one of the pilots fly solo non-stop for five days and nights across the Pacific from Nanjing, China to Hawaii, a distance of 8,500 kilometres.

  • Solar Impulse-2 is powered by more than 17,000 solar cells built into wings that, at 72 metres, are longer than those of a Boeing 747.

  • In total the plane is to travel 35,000 kilometres and will cross two oceans. 

  • The circumnavigation, which is to take place in 12 steps, requires 25 days of flight time spread over five months.

  • Solar Impulse-2 will take advantage of favourable weather conditions to commence its five-month world tour. It will fly eastwards towards the Arabian Sea, India, Myanmar, China, the Pacific Ocean, the United States, the Atlantic Ocean, southern Europe, and North Africa before returning to its starting point in Abu Dhabi.

Some Facts

  • The Solar Impulse-2 has over 17,000 solar panels that provide enough energy for travel during daylight. These panels also charge the built-in batteries of the plane that allow travel during the nights.

  • The Solar Impulse 2 is on a round-the-world trip during which it will cover over 35,000 kms, stopping at 12 locations around the world.

  • The plane can seat only one person – the pilot. Swiss pilots Andre Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard will be flying the plane alternatively for a period of over four-five months to complete the mission. 

  • The weight of the aircraft is only around that of a family-sized car, approx. 2300 kgs.

  • The plane has a top speed of around 160 kmph. But the pilots will not exceed 100 kmph mark during this trip.

  • The most challenging leg of the trip will be when the pilot on duty will have to fly from Nanjing in China to Hawaii in the middle of the Pacific. This trip could take up to five days and five nights of continuous flying.

  • The aircraft looks very much like a glider and compared to a normal airplane, it makes almost no noise because of its electrical engine.

In 2013, a smaller sized Solar Impulse-1 made a landmark journey to transit across the United States. But to cover the distance of the world, the advanced Solar Impulse-2 was designed.

 


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