Solar plane gets ready for round-the-world flight in Abu Dhabi

Solar Impulse 2 is expected to take off in March from the UAE capital on 22,000-mile journey
Solar plane gets ready for round-the-world flight in Abu Dhabi
By Neil Halligan
Wed 07 Jan 2015 02:39 PM

The team behind the first solar-powered flight around the world, which will start and finish in Abu Dhabi, have transported the aircraft from Switzerland to the UAE capital in preparation for the March take-off.

The 22,000-mile journey across three continents and two oceans with no fuel at all will be powered by some 17,000 solar cells built into the wings.

Explorer Bertrand Piccard and air force pilot Andre Borschberg, and their team, had to disassemble their delicate aircraft at its Swiss base at Payerne aerodrome before it was transported by Boeing 747 for the initial stage of its journey to Abu Dhabi this week.

The flight is expected to take a total of five months, which will be broken into ten legs, before returning to Abu Dhabi in July. At least one of the legs will involve five days and nights of continuous flying.

The single-seater Solar Impulse 2 aircraft (each will take it in turns to fly) is made of carbon fibre and has a 72 metre (236 ft) wingspan (almost that of an Airbus A380) and weighs of just 2,300 Kg, equivalent to that of a car.

The aircraft is expected to be showcased during the World Future Energy Summit from January 19 to 22, as part of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (January 17 -24).

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