Solar Plane Completes 2nd Leg of Round-the-Globe Trip

World | March 10, 2015, Tuesday // 22:15|  views

The Solar Impulse 2 plane approaches to land on the airport in Muscat, Oman, 9 March 2015. EPA/BGNES

Solar Impulse 2, the aircraft powered only by sunlight, has landed in India on Tuesday after covering about 1,500 kilometres during a 15-hour flight from Oman.

The Swiss-built  single-seat airctaft that weighs only 2,300 kilogrammes, landed in Ahmedabad where it will make a four-day stopover before flying off to Varanasi, in northeastern India. 

The round-the-world trip began in Abu Dhabi on Monday. Solar Impulse's CEO Andre Borschberg was in the pilot's seat for 13 hours before the plane touched down in Muscat in Oman.

Then the chairman of the USD 150 M project, Betrand Piccard, took over. He piloted the solar-powered plane from Oman to India, crossing the Arabian Sea during the second leg of the 35,000-kilometre journey around the world. The route also includes planned stopovers in Myanmar, China, Hawaii, New York and southern Europe or North Africa.

The light weight of the fossil fuel-free aircraft and the impeccable performance of the 17,000 solar cells on its wings, fuselage and tail will be crucial for the success of the venture.

The flawless operation of the lithium-ion batteries that will store energy to sustain flying during night time will also be crucial particularly during the most challenging leg of the journey - a flight from Nanjing in China to Hawaii, that is expected to take about five days.

The point of the project backed by Bayer AG, Solvay,  ABB, Schindler, Omega and Abu Dhabi's Masdar , is to demonstrate environmentally clean, efficient technologies.


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Tags: Solar Impulse 2, solar powered, Abu Dhabi, Oman, India, Andre Borschberg, Betrand Piccard


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