A solar-powered plane has begun to travel around the world

The plane, powered by solar energy, embarked on a 5-month, 20, 000-mile trip around the world. The voyage around the planet began on the morning of March 9, after Solar Impulse 2 landed in Oman, where it flew from Abu Dhabi.

Solar panels on the wings and fuselage of the Solar Impulse 2 charge four heavy-duty batteries that transmit power to the motors at 17.4 horsepower each. This is enough for the plane to fly at a speed similar to that developed by a professional cyclist, but hardly equal to the speed of an airplane on regular fuel.

For comparison, a flight from the Emirates, which took 13 hours, takes only one hour for a regular plane. The originally estimated time - 12 hours - was increased due to strong winds. In this flight, the unit moved at an altitude of 5800 meters. In the next dash across the Pacific Ocean to India, the flight is planned at an altitude of up to 8, 500 meters during daylight hours, when the plane receives more natural fuel, with a decrease to 1, 500 meters at night.

The next destination is the Indian city of Varanasi, then Mandalay, Burma, then Myanmar, then the course is laid to China, then across the Pacific Ocean, and after stopping in Hawaii, the plane will land in Phoenix, USA. After that, a flight to the American airport JFK. Solar Impulse 2 will then fly over the Atlantic Ocean, landing in either Southern Europe or Northern Africa, and finally return to Abu Dhabi.

The purpose of the event is not at all to create a new commercial vehicle, because the characteristics of the unit are far from being profitable. The organizers just want to prove it is possible. One of the pilots, Bertrand Pickard, compared the expedition to the first flight to the moon.