03/09/2015, 00.00
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Solar Impulse 2 sets off on round the world flight without fuel

The pilots are Andre Borschberg and Bertrand Picard. The plane, which uses only solar batteries, is designed to promote clean energy and reduce global warming. The longest stage: from Nanjing to Hawaii. The flight can be followed live on solarimpulse.com.

Abu Dhabi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A plane fueled by solar power and not petrol took off this morning on a round the world flight. The Solar Impulse 2 will fly for the next five months from continent to continent, even crossing the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

The plane left this morning at 7:12 (local time) from Al-Bateen in Abu Dhabi, flown by Andre Borschberg, a Swiss engineer and pilot, who will alternate with another Swiss Bertrand Picard, famous for his balloon journeys.

Their mission carries with it the message that a world with clean energy is possible, in the fight against global warming.

The plane has 17 thousand solar cells distributed along the surface of the 72 meters long wings, nearly as long as those of an Airbus A380, but which only weigh 2.5 tons. It is equipped with lithium batteries for night flights.

In total, the aircraft will travel 35 thousand km at a moderate speed (50 to 100 km / h) and is expected at Abu Dhabi for July-August next.

After Oman, where it is now directed, there will be 12 other destinations including India, Myanmar, and then - in a single stage, the longest of the journey - from Nanjing to Hawaii.

The flight is risky: firstly, because the pilots have to spend long hours completely concentrated and without distraction; second, because they will have to wait for favorable climatic conditions and this may delay their trips especially in the crossing of the oceans.

It is possible to follow everything that happens in the cabin live from the control center of the mission in Monaco (Principality), via the website "solarimpulse.com".

Solar Impulse 2 follows on from the prototype Solar Impulse 1, in which the two pilots made the first flight experiments in Europe, Morocco and the USA.

In total, there are 130 people involved in the adventure: 65 will accompany the pilots in their round the world flight for the logistics; 65 will remain in Monaco, at the control center of the mission, such as meteorologists, air traffic controllers, engineers.


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