A solar-powered plane departed from Abu Dhabi this morning
With the amount of pollution caused by air travel in this day and age, we were thrilled to hear about a solar-powered plane that embarked on an around-the-world adventure this morning. However, the epic adventure isn’t as simple as it seems. And you might want to hold off booking a solar-powered flight for your next holiday for now.
The aircraft, Solar Impulse-2, departed Abu Dhabi at 07:12 this morning and will take a whopping five months to make its journey around the world. And don’t expect first class travel either. Two Swiss pilots, Andre Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard, will have to stay awake and alert almost all of the time they are airborne. In fact, they will only be allowed to take 20 minute naps! Then there’s also the fact that the cockpit is extremely tiny, measuring at only 3.8 cubic meters in volume. Borschberg told BBC News this morning: "I am confident we have a very special aeroplane, and it will have to be to get us across the big oceans." He added: "We may have to fly for five days and five nights to do that, and it will be a challenge. But we have the next two months, as we fly the legs to China, to train and prepare ourselves."
The plane, which weighs 2.3 tonnes and has a wingspan of 72m, will make various stops around the world before returning to Abu Dhabi in approximately five months. There’s no guarantee that the expedition will be a success, but Piccard seems optimistic. "I had this dream 16 years ago of flying around the world without fuel, just on solar power. Now, we're about to do it. The passion is there and I look forward so much to being in the cockpit," Piccard told the BBC.
For live updates on their journey, visit www.solarimpulse.com or follow them on Twitter at @SolarImpulse. Good luck, guys, and see you back in Abu Dhabi!