The Solar-Powered Plane
The Swiss duo unveiled last week Solar Impulse 2, a revolutionary aircraft designed to achieve the longest ever flight in the history of aviation in terms of duration for a single pilot. It will attempt to fly non-stop for 120 hours (i.e. five successive days and nights) over oceans and continents without a drop of fuel.
It is made up of carbon fiber, Solar Impulse 2 is the evolution of a prototype. It has a huge wingspan of 72 meters, wider than a standard Boeing 747, and weighs only 2,300 kilos — that’s about as heavy as a family car. Its wings are covered with a skin of 17,000 solar cells that supply four electric motors with renewable energy, while its custom-made lithium batteries are able to store enough solar energy throughout the day to keep the ultra-light plane flying at night.
The aircraft Solar Impulse-2 took off from Abu Dhabi, heading east to Muscat in Oman .Mr Borschberg will share the pilot duties in due course with fellow Swiss, Bertrand Piccard. It is expected to travel 35000 km around the world.