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Solar Impulse 2 Set To Begin The Last Stage Of Its Trip

Solar Impulse 2

The solar-powered plane, the Solar Impulse 2 will soon begin the last leg of its flight around the world. The plane landed in Cairo after leaving Seville, Spain on Monday. The final flight will be to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. The plane’s trip began there in March of last year.

Solar Impulse 2, a zero-fuel plane, landed in Egypt Wednesday morning and was greeted by Egypt’s ministers of aviation and energy. Aviation Minister Sherif Fathy released a statement on Tuesday that said that everyone in his sector was proud to host the event, and that the plane demonstrated that the Egyptian government endorses the use of solar energy for civil aviation, along with the move toward cleaner energy sources.

Also on hand to greet the crew was Joma’a Mubarak Al Junaibi, the United Arab Emirates Ambassador to Egypt. By the time the plane touched down in Cairo, it had less than 30 percent of its battery power left. According to the mission managers, that was the first time that situation had presented itself.

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While the Solar Impulse is wider than a 747, it only weighs 2.3 metric tons. The efficiency of its batteries and fuel cells allows the plane to stay in flight for “days and nights.” The plane is constructed of carbon fiber and has 17,248 solar cells on its wing. The cells supply the plane with power through four motors. The cells also charge four lithium batteries that allow the aircraft to stay aloft at night.

The two pilots, Andre Borschberg and Bertand Piccard, are only allowed 20 minute catnaps while flying. Each of the pilots has had a chance to fly the plane one last time. Borschberg flew the plane from Spain to Egypt and tweeted “The final approach to Cairo was a bit tough but I made it. #futureisclean.”

Lincoln Brown for Oilprice.com

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