The world's only 'no-fuel' solar- powered aircraft 'Solar Impulse-2' on Thursday took off for Myanmar from Varanasi after overnight stopover, ending its week-long journey in India as part of the round-the-world trip.
What is Solar Impulse?
- Solar Impulse is claimed to be the first aircraft to fly day and night without a drop of fuel, propelled solely by the sun's energy.
- The single-seater aircraft, made of carbon fibre, has a 72 meter wingspan, larger than that of Boeing-747 and weighs only 2,300 kg.
- The 17,248 solar cells on the wing recharge four lithium polymer batteries weighing 633 kg each, which allow the aircraft to fly at night.
- It ranges between 50-160kmph, faster during days and slower at night to prevent batteries from draining quickly.
- It flies at 27,800 feet during the day, 5,000 feet at night.
- The SI-2 from Mandalay in Myanmar is scheduled to reach Chongqing and Nanjing in China and thereafter to USA.
- Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg - both Swiss, fly the aircraft by turns.
- One pilot flies one leg, the other meets the flight at the next stop and takes the charge.
- It will cover 35,000 km in five months.
- It will fly over 3 continents and 2 oceans.
- The aircraft began its journey on March 9 from Abu Dhabi.
- Swiss pilot Piccard had flown the plane from Muscat to Ahmedabad, while Borschberg flew it to Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.
- From Varanasi, the aircraft is scheduled to fly to Mandalay in Myanmar, Chongqing and Nanjing in China and thereafter to the US.
- The aircraft, which on round-the world trip, has spent nearly a week in India.
- The Solar Impulse-2 is currently flying the fourth leg.
Solar Impulse's one week in India
- The plane reached Ahmedabad on March 10 and was stationed for six days there before arriving in Varanasi on Wednesday.
- The Aircraft made a night stop in Varanasi for nearly 8 hours.
- The CEO and pilot of Solar Impulse, Andre Borschberg, had flown the solar-powered aircraft to Varanasi from Ahmedabad.
- The aircraft maintained a minimum altitude of around 5,200 metres on its flight to Varanasi.
(With agency inputs)