Can it fly around the world without a drop of fuel?
Can it fly around the world without a drop of fuel? The Swiss-built solar aircraft took off from Muscat in Oman (Reuters)
Can it fly around the world without a drop of fuel?
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A Swiss solar-powered plane took off from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates on Monday. It marked the start of the first attempt to fly around the world without a drop of fuel.

Solar Impulse founder Andr Borschberg was at the controls of the single-seater. It took off from the Al Bateen Executive Airport. Borschberg will trade off piloting with Solar Impulse co-founder Bertrand Piccard during stop-overs. The solar plane's journey will take months to complete.

The Swiss pilots say their aim is to create awareness about replacing "old polluting technologies with clean and efficient technologies."

The plane is expected to reach its first destination Muscat, Oman after about 10 hours of flight.

Some legs of the trip, such as over the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, will mean five or six straight days of flying.

The lightweight Solar Impulse 2, a larger version of a single-seat prototype that first flew five years ago, is made of carbon fiber. It has 17,248 solar cells built into the wing. They supply the plane with renewable energy. The solar cells recharge four lithium polymer batteries.

The company says the plane has a 236-foot wingspan. That is larger than that of the Boeing 747. But it weighs about as much as an SUV at around 5,070 pounds.

In June the plane made an inaugural flight. It traveled two hours and 17 minutes above western Switzerland. That was just two months after it was unveiled.

After Oman, the plane will head to India, where it will make two stops. Then it's on to China and Myanmar. Next it will head across the Pacific and stop in Hawaii. Then it will fly to Phoenix, Ariz., and New York's biggest airport, John F. Kennedy International. The path across the Atlantic will depend on the weather. It could include a stop in southern Europe or Morocco before ending in Abu Dhabi.

The round-the-world trip is expected to end in late July. Or even August.

Borschberg and Piccard say they want to push politicians, celebrities and private citizens to confront the Conference on Climate Change of the United Nations. It will define the new Kyoto protocol in December 2015 in Paris. There, all countries are supposed to present targets for a new global climate agreement. Governments are expected to adopt a plan at the meeting.

Critical thinking challenge: Why will it take so long to fly over the Atlantic Ocean?

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/tween56/can-it-fly-around-world-without-drop-fuel/

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COMMENTS (138)
  • Colef-Gil
    3/11/2015 - 03:29 p.m.

    I think that it would be really cool if these airplanes could be used instead of the polluting technologies that we are using now. Although it is cool to think about, I think that there would have to be way more power generated to produce enough to carry as many people as a passenger airplane. Hopefully scientist will figure out a way to generate even more power without the harmful effects on the environment.

  • briahnaa-And
    3/11/2015 - 03:31 p.m.

    This article is about how a Solar Impulse founder made a plane that could probably fly all around the world in just a couple months that they are calculating.

  • KageF-Kut
    3/11/2015 - 06:21 p.m.

    I think that if scientists can successfully complete this trip, the world may come to a point where planes are no longer in need of jet fuel and can be solar powered and won't pollute the atmosphere and ruin the ozone. Also we will be able to put the worlds fossil fuels to better use!

    • Jagvir24
      3/12/2015 - 11:52 a.m.

      I think it crazy to even think a plane can fly on solar energy. I thought it was pretty weird and cool at the same time.I wonder if the person who created it is a billionaire.

  • laurenl-And
    3/11/2015 - 08:32 p.m.

    There are multiple reasons why it would take so long to fly over the Atlantic Ocean. One, being it is just the second solar airplane, so it isn't go around the world in a day or two. But also, the Atlantic Ocean is big, and weather can be unpredictable. There could be a storm, which then the plane would have to turn around or land on some boat thing. You can't go in the storm because, guess what? NO SUNLIGHT! And who knows how long it will be till you get to the other side! The solar power might run out by then. So they are just mainly being safe, but also it isn't fast.

  • Eric0221-YYCA
    3/11/2015 - 08:48 p.m.

    I think that it is cool for people in Switzerland to make a plane that doesn't need to refill non-renewable because fossil fuels are running out very quickly so electricity is the only renewable energy left, so if fossil fuels are gone by now, we couldn't create our own fuel if fossil fuels are gone. If there were more dinosaurs back a million years and then got extincted, they would of had more fuels that wouldn't run out really quickly. The plane looks cool because there are a lot of solar energizer inside every solar panes on the wings, that would save the fossil fuels from running out.
    Critical thinking challenge: Why will it take so long to fly over the Atlantic Ocean?
    Answer: Oceans are giant bodies of water or big bodies of water that if you go on boat, it will take about an year to cross it, but planes are much faster but will take a long time to cross over it by air.

  • Eugene0808-YYCA
    3/11/2015 - 08:56 p.m.

    I think the around the world trip is going to be a success because the solar cells should keep the plane going. But, the Solar Impulse should be inspected every time it makes the stops because at the end of the flight, there might be a malfunction so they should look over it before taking flight to the next stop. I give best wishes to the pilots and I hope nothing happens to them during their flights.
    Critical thinking challenge: Why will it take so long to fly over the Atlantic Ocean?
    Answer: It will take so long to fly over the Atlantic Ocean because the path across the Atlantic depends on the weather.

  • Brandon1231-YYCA
    3/11/2015 - 09:48 p.m.

    I think that it is cool to have these people make a solar powered plane. I just think that these people are just wasting to much money on something they will never use. I just think that having these people go this is just wrong. I hope that these people can change their mind about how they are going to use this machine. I hope that the world can know how these people made something that is pretty cool and is awesome. I hope that they can fly this machine before putting in a museum. I hope that the people are well known and I hope that they can do the right thing with that machine.

  • JacquelynS-3
    3/11/2015 - 11:19 p.m.

    On Monday, a Swiss solar-powered plane took off from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. This was the first ever attempt to fly without using any fuel. Andr Borshberg was at the controls of the single-seater. He says he aims to create awareness about replacing "old polluting technologies with clean and efficient technologies."

    I think it's really cool that things like this are becoming possible.

  • SladeG-2
    3/11/2015 - 11:33 p.m.

    This article is about a Swiss solar-powered plane which took off from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates on Monday. It marked the start of the first attempt to fly around the world without a drop of fuel. The Solar Impulse founder, Andr Borschberg, was at the controls of the single seater plane. The plane has a 236 foot wingspan which is larger than the Boeing 747. My opinion on this article is that by making this type of plane it would have a good affect on the environment by not making to much pollution.

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