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‘Solar Impulse 2’ in air for first ‘Round The World Attempt’

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ABU DHABI: A Swiss solar-powered plane, ‘The Solar Impulse 2’ took off from Abu Dhabi early Monday, to fly around the world using only solar power aimed at promoting green energy.

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The Solar Impulse 2 (Si2), piloted by Andre Borschberg of Switzerland, took off at 7:12 am (03:12UTC) for its first flight Abdu Dhabi (Al-Bateen Executive Airport) in the United Arab Emirates, to Muscat (Muscat International Airport) in the Sultanate of Oman where it is expected to land later today after the first leg of the journey.

The route of Si2 is Abu Dhabi to Muscat, Ahmadabad, Varanasi, Mandalay, Chongqing, Nanjing, Hawaii, Phoenix, Mid USA, New York, Europe, North Africa and back to Abu Dhabi.

It is the first time that Si2 has crossed an international border in flight. Two years ago, Solar Impulse’s Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg became the first pilots to fly a solar-powered plane across America without burning a drop of fuel. But that was just a warm-up for the months-long.

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Solar Impulse is the only airplane able to fly day and night on solar power without a drop of fuel. The Swiss-led project is designed to demonstrate environmentally friendly technologies. This upgraded plane has a wingspan wider than a Boeing 747, and yet it weights about as much as a family car. Si2 is equipped with more than 17,000 solar cells and more than 1,300 pounds of batteries and a system that stores and generates enough power to keep the plane going day and night.

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