Solar-powered plane successfully takes off for a trip around the world

By Thor Benson

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, March 9 (UPI) -- The first attempt ever at flying a solar-powered plane all the way around the world lifted off on Monday.

The plane, called the Solar Impulse 2, left Abu Dhabi and has completed its first leg of the journey by landing in Oman after a 12-hour flight. It was flown by pilot André Borschbeg for the first leg, and he will be taking turns flying it along with Bertrand Piccard.


The plan is to complete the entire trip over the next five months, covering over 21,000 miles. The plane can fly at night because of its ability to store energy it collects during the day.

The trip will also include stops in the United States, India, Myanmar, China and either Southern Europe or North Africa. Richard Branson of Virgin Group is supporting the project

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