Solar-powered plane to make round-the-world trip next year

Solar-powered plane to make round-the-world trip next year

 Come 2015, India and rest of the world can see the first aircraft that is powered by solar energy and can fly non-stop.

The aircraft, to be unveiled in a few months from now, will make a round-the-globe trip next year, showcasing the latest technology in various countries where it will have stopovers, according to Switzerland-based company Solar Impulse, which is manufacturing it.

The plane, weighing around 2,740 kg, will be powered by 12,000 solar cells and can fly at the speed of 70 kms per hour.

It can fly day and night continuously, collecting energy from the Sun, the company's CEO Andre Borshberg told PTI here.

Maintaining that the plane will have only one pilot as of now, he said that while the aircraft can fly continuously day and night, "the limiting factor is the pilot. He cannot sustain endlessly and has to take rest."

The around-the-world sojourn will be for three months, with the total flight time being 20-25 days and nights.

The journey will begin somewhere in the Middle East and the flight's first destination will be India.

"We hope to make two stops in India -- one on west coast and another in the east -- before the aircraft goes to Myanmar," said the CEO, who is here in connection with preparations for making the India-part of the sojourn a high- profile event.

The longest non-stop flight of five days and five nights will be across the Pacific Ocean, he said.

"The goal is to make an aircraft which has unlimited endurance. It is a human challenge also....besides making the aircraft which is very efficient in energy and energy savings," he said, adding it should "become an ambassador of what we can do with this technology." 

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