In 2013, Solar Impulse completed the first solar-powered flight across the United States, from Mountain View, CA to JFK International Airport in New York. Last April, the Solar Impulse team revealed plans for the Solar Impulse 2 – their newest aircraft that is able to fly around the globe using only the power of the sun.
The single-pilot cockpit is almost ready, and in late February or early March, the team will launch the first ever around-the-world solar-powered flight. The plane will take off in Abu Dhabi and make several stops including India, China and the US before landing back in Abu Dhabi in August.
The aircraft has a 236-foot wingspan, weighs only 5,000 pounds, and uses more than 17,000 solar cells to power its four 17.4-horsepower electric motors. Pilots Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, the same team who piloted the North American flight, will be sharing flying time on this journey. The cockpit is unheated and non-pressurized, so this journey will be “more than a little uncomfortable” for the pair.
Keep an eye on the skies in the next few months for this history-making flight!