SOLAR IMPULSE 2 LEAVES EGYPT FOR FINAL LEG OF WORLD TOUR

The first solar-powered plane to circle the world took off from Cairo on Sunday for Abu Dhabi, in the final leg of its journey.

Swiss pilot Bertrand Piccard was behind the controls of Solar Impulse 2, which can fly for days on only energy from the sun.

“It’s a project for energy, for a better world,” Piccard, 58, told journalists before taking off.

The ground crew, who had dragged the plane out to the tarmac with ropes, cheered as it lifted off and disappeared into the night.

It had been scheduled to leave last week, but the flight was delayed because of winds and Picard falling ill.

Piccard and Swiss entrepreneur and pilot Andre Borschberg have taken turns flying the plane on its 35,000-kilometre trip around the world.

Borschberg piloted the flight’s 8,924 kilometre Pacific stage between Nagoya, in Japan, and Hawaii.

Solar Impulse 2 arrived in Cairo after a two-day flight from Spain, finishing the 3,745 kilometre journey with an average speed of 76.7 kilometres an hour.

It had earlier landed in Seville after completing the first solo transatlantic flight powered only by the sun.

The single-seat aircraft, no heavier than a car but with the wingspan of a Boeing 747, is fitted with 17,000 solar cells on its wings. During night-time flights it runs on battery-stored power.

It typically travels at a mere 48 kilometres (30 miles) per hour, although its flight speed can double when exposed to full sunlight.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK