Round-the-globe solar plane completes maiden test flight without a drop of fuel!
Features Saturday, February 28, 2015 - 05:30
The News Minute | February 28, 2015 | 11:35 am IST A solar-powered aircraft, which aims to fly around the globe without a drop of fuel, has completed its maiden test flight in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a media report said on Friday. Solar Impulse 2 (Si2), the solar-powered aircraft, which would start its round-the-world journey next month from Abu Dhabi, completed its maiden test flight Thursday, ArabianBusiness online reported, adding that the flight would bring the plane to India as well. The single-seater aircraft will be flown by Swiss pilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg and the zero-fuel flight is believed to be an effort to demonstrate the promise of clean energy. Si2 will fly 35,000 km day and night at speeds of between 50 and 100 kmph in a journey spanning over 25 days. The cockpit will be unpressurised with only one seat for one pilot, adding to the challenge of the endeavour, an earlier report state-run WAM news agency said. According to the flight details unveiled last month, there will be 12 stops en route, which include stops at the Indian cities of Ahmedabad and Varanasi, apart from Muscat (Oman), Mandalay (Myanmar), and Chongqing and Nanjing (China). For four hours, test pilot Markus Scherdel took to the UAE skies in the solar plane, followed by Borschberg who completed a full day's test flight. The initial results were in line with calculations and simulations, a statement said, adding that several more test flights were scheduled for the coming week. "These first test flights in Abu Dhabi are an important stage -- a step closer towards the impending round-the-world solar flight attempt. I am elated to report that the plane's performance is on par with our initial simulation," Borschberg said. Piccard added: "The results indicate that our team of engineers can be very proud of their successful reassembly of the aircraft and their efforts since the vision's inception 12 years ago. We're one step closer to our round-the-world attempt and one step closer to inspiring people across the world to be pioneers in their own lives." After crossing the Pacific Ocean via Hawaii, Si2 will fly across the US, stopping in Phoenix and New York City. A third stop-over location in the US midwest will be decided according to weather conditions. After crossing the Atlantic, the final legs include a stop-over in southern Europe or North Africa before arriving back in Abu Dhabi. With IANS Tweet Follow @thenewsminute