Solar Plane’s Round-The-World Route Announced

The team aiming to make history by flying a solar-powered plane around the world have announced their flight plan.Solar Impulse 2 (SI2) will take off from its base in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, in late February or early March and return by late July or early August.

Solar Plane's Round-The-World

The route includes stops in Oman, India, China, the US and, possibly, Europe.

After crossing the Pacific Ocean via Hawaii, Si2 will fly over the US, stopping in three locations, including Phoenix and New York City.

Once it has crossed the Atlantic, there will be a stop-over in southern Europe or North Africa before arriving back in Abu Dhabi.

Pilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg will take turns flying the plane, which has a 72m (236ft) wingspan.

Mr Piccard, who made the first non-stop, round-the-world balloon flight, told Sky News he was very excited.

“It has been 13 years we have been preparing for this moment, so it’s the moment of truth,” he said.

Mr Borschberg said he had every confidence in SI2, although flying at night would be a concern.

“It is extremely reliable in terms of technology but if we rely on the sun as a source of energy night-time is a big suspense,” he said.

Despite its huge wingspan, which is larger than that of the Boeing 747-8I, SI2 weighs only 2,300kg (5070lbs), the same as the average car.

During the day its 17,000 solar cells recharge the engine’s lithium batteries which allows it to fly at night.

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