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Solar-Powered Airplane Attempts Flight Around the World

The Solar Impulse 2 flies over the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi during the test flight. The pilots will fly over the Arabian Sea and make stops in Oman, India, Myanmar, China, the United States, and Southern Europe or North Africa depending on the weather. The Solar Impulse 2 is expected to land back in Abu Dhabi in late July or early August.

The Solar Impulse 2 shortly after official take off from Al Bateen Airport in United Arab Emirates on March 9.

Two Swiss pilots, Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg, embarked on an attemptto fly around the world in the solar-powered airplane. The project is aimed at promoting clean technology in the aviation sector. The 22,000 mile trip will take five months to complete.

Handout / X80001

The Solar Impulse 2 prepares to take off at Al Bateen airport in Abu Dhabi on March 9.

Ahmed Jadallah / X90013

Swiss pilot Bertrand Piccard jokes with his compatriot pilot Andre Borschberg before takeoff on March 9. The takeoff of Solar Impulse 2, which was delayed due to high winds, would cap 13 years of research and testing by Borschberg and Piccard.

Marwan Naamani / AFP

The Solar Impulse 2 flies over Abu Dhabi on a test flight on Feb. 26. The solar-powered plane has a wingspan of 236 feet, larger than that of a Boeing 747, but weighs only 4600 pounds, about as much as a family car. More than 17,000 solar cells on the wing power lithium-ion batteries in four electric motors. The airframe makes use of carbon fiber, which is three times lighter than paper, to keep the plane as light as possible.

- / AFP

The Solar Impulse 2 flies over the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi during the test flight. The pilots will fly over the Arabian Sea and make stops in Oman, India, Myanmar, China, the United States, and Southern Europe or North Africa depending on the weather. The Solar Impulse 2 is expected to land back in Abu Dhabi in late July or early August.

Handout / X80001

Solar Impulse 2 flies over Abu Dhabi during the test flight. Solar Impulse 2 is the only single-seater airplane able to fly day and night without a drop of fuel.

Jean Revillard / Solar Impulse/h / SOLAR IMPULSE