Yemisi Izuora/Agency Report
The developers of the world’s first solar-powered plane (with the capacity to fly for seven days and nights), has announced that it will embark on its global journey in early March 2015, the AFP reported.
With flying speeds of around 50-100 kms (30-60 miles) per hour, the journey for Solar Impulse 2 (Si2) is expected to take 5 months from take-off, flying over the Pacific Ocean and making regular stops along the route, which has been 12 years in the planning.
Bertrand Piccard, chairman of Solar Impulse said: ‘We want to demonstrate that clean technology and renewable energy can achieve the impossible’.
‘Renewable energy can become an integral part of our lives, and together we can help save our planet’s natural resources’.
Designed out of carbon fibre, the Si2 has wings that are larger than a Boeing 747 yet weighs about the same as a 4×4 motor vehicle. The wings of the plane have 17 249 solar cells which will power 4 electric engines in addition to the rechargeable lithium batteries.
According to Si2 researchers, the plane will reduce speed at night to preserve battery life, giving the Si2 ‘virtually unlimited autonomy’.
Andre Borschberg, chief executive officer of Solar Impulse remains optimistic that the energy efficient flying mobile will achieve its goals.
‘Solar Impulse 2 must accomplish what no other plane in the history of aviation has achieved – flying without fuel for five consecutive days and nights with only one pilot in the unpressurised cockpit’, Borschberg said.
The journey will be available for viewing on the company website in late February/early March.