Round-the-world solar plane takes off from Nanjing for Hawaii

31 May, 2015 4:11 pm

NANJING, China – The first round-the-world solar-powered flight continues its journey, taking off from Nanjing, China, to cross the Pacific Ocean towards Hawaii.

The flight took off from China on Sunday (May 31), as it continues its 35,000 km (22,000 mile) journey seeking to demonstrate that flying long distances fueled by renewable energy is possible.

The Solar Impulse 2 took off from Nanjing in the early hours of Sunday to cross the Pacific Ocean for Hawaii, before flying across the United States and southern Europe to arrive back in Abu Dhabi by late July.

Pilots Andre Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard will take turns at the controls of Solar Impulse 2, which began its journey in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates in March, as it makes its way around the globe in about 25 flight days at speeds of between 50 kph and 100 kph (30 mph to 60 mph).

The aircraft is as heavy as a family car at 2,300 kg (5,100 lb) but has a wingspan as wide as the largest airliner.

The design and construction of the Solar Impulse took 12 years.

A first version of the craft rolled out in 2009, and broke records for height and distance travelled by a manned solar plane. –Reuters

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