World’s sun powered plane begins final flight
The World’d sun powered plane, the solar impulse 2 began the final round of its solar energy powered journey when it took off from Egypt.
The plane is piloted by Bertrand Piccard, the solar-powered plane
left Cairo International Airport at 7:28 p.m. EDT and is expected to
arrive at Al Bateen Executive Airport in Abu Dhabi Monday after a flight
of about 48 hours.
The final leg, however, poses major challenges as
Solar Impulse 2 flies through the heat of the Middle East. The region’s
current high temperatures will test the plane’s technology to the limits
and can cause thermals and turbulence, even at high altitudes,
according to the Solar Impulse team.
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A larger version of a single-seat prototype that
first flew six years ago, Solar Impulse 2 is made of carbon fiber and
has 17,248 solar cells built into the wings that supply the plane with
renewable energy, via four motors. The solar cells recharge four lithium
polymer batteries, which provide power for night flying.
Solar Impulse Chairman Bertrand Piccard has taken
turns with his fellow Swiss pilot Andre Borschberg to fly the
single-seater plane around the world.
Bertrand Piccard was at the controls when Solar Impulse 2
became the first solar-powered plane to cross the Atlantic last month
after a flight of 71 hours and 8 minutes.
The flight from Cairo to Abu Dhabi is the 17th leg of
the global journey, which began when the plane flew from Abu Dhabi to
Oman in March 2015. Borschberg broke a number of records on the eighth
leg of Solar Impulse’s 2 journey, landing in Hawaii on July 3, 2015
after an incredible 4,480-mile, 118-hour flight from Japan. The journey
shattered the record for longest solar-powered flight in terms of
distance and duration. Borschberg also broke the record for longest
non-stop solo flight without refueling, which previously stood at 76
hours and 45 minutes
From Hawaii to
California, was delayed for nine months while the Solar Impulse team
repaired damage to the plane’s batteries sustained on the journey from
The plane has traveled more than 25,700 miles since
setting off on the first leg of the trip and has racked up over 509
hours of flight time.
According to the pilot on his twitter page , he wrote “Just took off from #cairo to achieve the 1st round-the-world solar flight. A dream I have since 1999 #futureisclean”
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