Solar-powered plane to fly around the world in 2015
The two Swiss pilots who flew a solar-powered plane on a record-setting coast-to-coast flight across the United States last summer have revealed that they will use their next-generation solar plane in 2015 to circumnavigate the globe.
Pilots Andre Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard are slated to reveal a new solar-powered airplane, dubbed Solar Impulse 2, in a ceremony on April 9. The event will be webcast live on the Solar Impulse website, according to Mashable.
Last year, Borschberg and Piccard alternated flying a different solar-powered plane, called Solar Impulse, from California to New York, completing the cross-country journey on July 6, 2013, after roughly two months and five planned stops.
The pilots are now planning to fly the new Solar Impulse 2 plane on a first-of-its-kind journey around the world.
The Solar Impulse plane is the first aircraft capable of flying day and night without fuel.
The ultra-lightweight plane is powered entirely by solar panels and onboard batteries, which charge during the day to allow the plane to fly when the sun goes down. The initiative is designed to demonstrate the possibilities for sustainable energy.
The Solar Impulse 2 has a wingspan that stretches 236 feet, and is covered in 17,000 solar cells, according to company officials. The new carbon-fiber plane also features a larger cockpit, which should enable the pilots to fly for longer periods of time.
(Posted on 09-04-2014)