Solar Impulse 2 begins historic round-the-world, sun-powered flight

Solar Impulse 2 begins historic round-the-world, sun-powered flight
March 9, 2015
Solar Impulse 2 over Abu Dhabi
A pair of Swiss explorers have begun a mission to circumnavigate the globe via air and sun.

March 9, 2015
By Erik Mack
gizmag.com

A pair of Swiss explorers have begun a mission to circumnavigate the globe via air and sun. A take-off twelve years in the making, the experimental Solar Impulse 2 plane left Abu Dhabi at 7:12 a.m. local time, bound for Muscat, Oman, on the first leg in a journey that will require 25 days in the air spread over a period of roughly 5 months.

"We are very ambitious in our goal, but modest given the magnitude of the challenge," said co-pilots Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg in a statement. "This is an attempt, and only time will tell if we can overcome the numerous weather, technical, human and administrative issues." The two co-pilots will take turns flying the dozen or so legs of the trip that will cover 35,000 kilometers (about 22,000 miles) and two ocean crossings.

Borschberg took off Monday for the first leg at 7:12 a.m. local time in Abu Dhabi, reaching an altitude of approximately 5,800 m (19,000 ft) on the way to Muscat, where it is expected to land 12 hours later at around 7 p.m., depending on weather conditions. Solar Impulse 2 is capable of speeds between 50 and 100 km/h (62 mph) and despite a wingspan larger than that of a commercial jet, it weighs about as much as a small car.

For more information: http://www.gizmag.com/solar-impulse-begins-round-the-world-sun-powered-f...