First round-the-world solar flight takes off

The Solar Impulse 2, a solar-powered plane, flies over the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi during preparations for next month's round-the-world flight, February 26, 2015.

The Solar Impulse 2, a solar-powered plane, flies over the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi during preparations for next month’s round-the-world flight, February 26, 2015.


The first attempt to fly around the world in a plane using only solar power launched Monday in Abu Dhabi in a landmark journey aimed at promoting green energy, Agence France-Presse reported.

The Solar Impulse 2, piloted by Andre Borschberg of Switzerland, took off at 7:12 am (0412 GMT) from Al-Bateen airport and headed to Muscat, the capital of Oman, where it is expected to land later Monday after the first leg of the journey.

Borscherg is sharing the pilot duties in due course with fellow Swiss, Bertrand Piccard.

Ahead of the trip, the pilot told UK’s BBC: “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.”

During the next five months, the plane will skip from continent to continent, crossing both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

The Solar Impulse 2 takes off at Al Bateen airport in Abu Dhabi, at the start of an attempt to fly around the world in the solar-powered plane March 9, 2015. Two Swiss pilots, Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg, on Monday embarked on the attempt to fly around the world on the solar-powered airplane that is expected to last for five months and is aimed at promoting clean technology in the aviation sector. On its five-month journey of 35,000 km (22,000 miles), the engines will be powered only by solar energy.

The Solar Impulse 2 takes off at Al Bateen airport in Abu Dhabi, at the start of an attempt to fly around the world in the solar-powered plane March 9, 2015. Two Swiss pilots, Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg, on Monday embarked on the attempt to fly around the world on the solar-powered airplane that is expected to last for five months and is aimed at promoting clean technology in the aviation sector. On its five-month journey of 35,000 km (22,000 miles), the engines will be powered only by solar energy.


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