The solar powered plane, Solar Impulse 2 is getting ready for its maiden flight around the world. The flight will start at an airport in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, early Monday, March 9, 2015.
The solar powered Swiss airplane will take off from Abu Dhabi on Monday on the first leg of its eventful journey. Its creators hope to be able to circumvent the globe without any fuel.
The Solar Powered, Single Seater, airplane named Solar Impulse 2 aircraft has a wingspan of 72 meters. Incidentally this is longer than the wingspan of a Boeing 747. The airplane only weighs as much as a car. It will get power from 17,000 solar cells built into the wings. These solar cells will harness the sun’s energy and will enable it to fly in the night.
The Solar Impulse 2 aircraft is the brainchild of two Swiss scientists: Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg and it took more than 12 years to build.
Solar Impulse 2 aircraft will be piloted by Borschberg, who will be in the pilot’s seat on Monday. He is also the CEO of Solar Impulse and is also a trained fighter pilot and a professional airplane and helicopter pilot. He and Piccard will be alternating piloting duties during stopovers.
Piccard is also a psychiatrist as well as an explorer and the aeronaut. He also has the distinction of making the first-ever non-stop round-the-world balloon flight. The two do not seek to revolutionize the aviation industry but are instead aiming to break the myth that alternative energy sources and new technologies can achieve what some consider impossible.
The pilots will have to endure a lot of hardships since the cockpit will scarcely be a place of luxury. The pilots will have to stay glued to their seats for days at an end and therefore the pilot seat will also serve as a recliner and a toilet.
The aircraft’s route will include stops in Oman, India, Mandalay, Myanmar and China. Crossing the Pacific Ocean via Hawaii, the Solar Impulse 2 aircraft will make at least three stopovers in the U.S., touching down in Phoenix, Arizona, and New York City. Other stopovers are also possible depending upon the weather conditions. Final leg will include stopovers in southern Europe or North Africa before arriving back in Abu Dhabi in late July or early August.