The plane was built in Switzerland and took off from Al Bateen airport with the company’s founder, André Borschberg, along with the company’s co-founder Bertrand Piccard on board. The plane will be landing on the same airport once it completes a 500-hour flight.
Project developers stated that the aim behind this airplane is to stress on the importance of giving up polluting technologies and opt for greener and clean technologies in aviation. The Solar Impulse 2 features 17,428 photovoltaic cells that are able to capture the sun’s energy. These cells are responsible for charging the four batteries that power the electric engines which are responsible for the thrust of aircraft. The wings measure a length of 72 meters and the aircraft weighs 2300 kg.
Two pilots shall be piloting the aircraft in turns during the 35000 km flight and shall be making stops in Oman, India, Myanmar and China followed by crossing the Pacific and reaching Hawaii, USA where they will stop in Arizona and New York. Afterwards, the plane will cross the Atlantic to enter Europe and Morocco before this trip comes to an end in Abu Dhabi somewhere around the end of July. The aircraft can reach altitudes of 8500 meters during the day to capture sun’s rays and during night it drops down to 1500 meters while flying over the ocean.
Borschberg, right before takeoff, said, “I am confident we have a very special aeroplane, and it will have to be to get us across the big oceans. 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.”