Solar-Powered Plane Completes Round-The-World Flight

Tuesday, July 26th 2016, 5:45 am
By: News On 6

The Solar Impulse 2 plane has landed in Abu Dhabi more than a year after its initial take off, completing the first round-the-world flight to be powered solely by the sun's energy.

The pre-dawn landing Tuesday by pilot Bertrand Piccard marks the end of an epic 25,000-mile journey. The plane made 16 stops, including in India, China, the U.S., Italy, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates -- where it first took off.

The attempt to fly around the world began in Abu Dhabi in March of 2015. It landed in Tulsa on May 12, on a leg that had begun in Phoenix. Stormy weather kept it on the ground here longer than planned and it didn't leave Tulsa until May 21, 2016.

5/12/2016: Related Story: Solar Impulse 2 Lands At Tulsa International Airport

The Swiss-engineered single-seater aircraft is powered by 17,248 solar cells and runs on battery power at night. Its average airspeed was 46 mph, though that increased during the day when the sun's rays were strongest.

It took 70 hours for the plane to cross the Atlantic and 118 hours across the Pacific.

Solar Impulse 2 

The solar project, which is estimated to cost more than $100 million, began in 2002 to highlight the importance of renewable energy and the spirit of innovation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.