First Solar Flight Around the World – ‘Solar Impulse 2’ Will Cover 22,000-Mile Trip Without a Drop of Fuel

By: | March 14th, 2015

Solar Impulse 2 successfully landed in Ahmedabad, India this Tuesday at 11:25pm local time on the second leg of its historic around-the-world solar flight.

It broke the world record for longest solar-powered straight distance flight by flying 912 miles (1,468 km) in less than 16 hours.

Solar Impulse 2 took off from Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, early on Monday March 9th. It is the first aircraft completely sustained by solar power to fly around the world.

It is preparing for the next leg to Varanasi, India and from there it will fly to Myanmar before making two pit stops in China. The solar-powered plane will then cross the Pacific Ocean via Hawaii.

The Solar Impulse 2 is made of carbon fiber. It has a wingspan wider than a Boeing 747 but weighs just the same as a family car. It is capable of flying day and night, and will fly 21,747 miles (35,000km) in the next five months.

The entire journey will be powered solely by the sun

The 17,000 solar cells that line the top of the wings supply renewable energy to lithium-ion batteries. The plane will stop in just 12 locations across the world in the first attempt to fly around the globe without using a drop of fuel.

Two Swiss pilots will take turns piloting the single seater Solar Impulse 2. The pilots will endure around 250 hours each inside a tiny cabin with no temperature control when the temperatures outside will range between -40 °F to 104 °F (-40 °C to 40 °C).

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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