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Solar plane takes off on transatlantic challenge

By Staff Reporter

Published 21/06/2016

Solar Impulse 2 in the skies above New York yesterday. Photo: Jean Revillard/Getty Images
Solar Impulse 2 in the skies above New York yesterday. Photo: Jean Revillard/Getty Images

A plane flying around the world without fuel is about to start the hardest part of its journey.

The ultra-light Solar Impulse 2 took off from New York yesterday on its way to Spain, aiming to cross the Atlantic in one go in a journey that could take up to 90 hours. It is hoped the solar-powered aircraft's journey, which will end on Thursday, will highlight the power of green energy.

The plane has four engines and draws power from four batteries that store surplus energy. It weighs as much as and travels the same speed as a family car.

Because the plane moves so slowly, the two pilots have taken up meditation and hypnosis so they can stay awake and alert through the long journeys.

The trip began in Abu Dhabi in March 2015. It is hoped that the plane will return to the United Arab Emirates to finish its journey around the world.

Belfast Telegraph

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