Solar-powered plane begins Atlantic crossing

The aeroplane, Solar Impulse 2, which is attempting to circumnavigate the world using only renewable energy, left John F Kennedy airport to begin 90-hour flight over the Atlantic Ocean.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

The solar powered airplane Solar Impulse 2 is seen shortly after take off from Dayton International Airport, in Dayton, Ohio U.S. , enroute to Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania May 25, 2016.

Updated Jun 30, 2016

Solar Impulse 2 left John F Kennedy International airport on Monday to start a 90-hour long journey over the Atlantic Ocean using only solar energy.

It is the 15th leg of the plane's journey around the world.  

Swiss aviators Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg have been taking turns to fly the plane. They started the journey from the United Arab Emirates in March 2015.

Solar Impulse 2 is most likely to land in Spain or France on Thursday after remaining in the air for around 90 hours.  

Piccard has control of the plane for the transatlantic journey. More than 17,000 solar cells are built into its wings, the span of which exceeds that of a Boeing 747.

The purpose of the flight is to promote clean technologies that don’t harm the environment.

The airplane's slow cruising speed, similar to that of a car, requires both of its pilots to practice meditation and hypnosis to stay alert for long periods of time.

The carbon-fiber, propeller-driven plane has four solar-powered engines and four batteries to store surplus energy. It weighs the same as a family car and can climb to 28,000 feet (8,500 m). Piccard and Borschberg completed a multi-flight crossing of the United States with an earlier version of the plane in 2013.

TRTWorld and agencies