X

Solar Impulse 2 begins around-the-world flight (pictures)

The solar-powered plane is part of an effort to encourage energy-efficient aviation. Here's a look at the aircraft and how to track it from the ground.

stephenshankland.jpg
stephenshankland.jpg
Stephen Shankland
Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and writes about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
Stephen Shankland
Solar Impulse 2 takes off from Abu Dhabi's executive airport.​
1 of 14 Solar Impulse

Solar Impulse takeoff

Solar Impulse 2 takes off from Abu Dhabi's executive airport Monday.

Related story: Solar airplane soars to start first-ever round-the-world trip

solar-impulse-2-takeoff.jpg
2 of 14 Solar Impulse

Solar Impulse takeoff

The Solar Impulse 2 takes off from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates to begin its first leg.

solar-impulse-tracker.jpg
3 of 14 Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Monitoring the flight

You can monitor a variety of flight aspects at the SolarImpulse.com website. On Monday however,  during the first leg of a planned global circumnavigation, the website went offline.

solar-impulse-battery-status.jpg
4 of 14 Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Battery status

You can check the Solar Impulse 2's battery status, including whether they're charging in the sun or discharging to power the plane's four electric motors.

solar-impulse-2.jpg
5 of 14 Solar Impulse

Solar Impulse in flight

The Solar Impulse flies its first segment of an attempt to circumnavigate the world.

solar-impulse-plane-state.jpg
6 of 14 Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Solar Impulse aircraft status

If you're curious about whether the plane is banking, ascending or descending, the SolarImpulse.com website offers telemetry to see.

Solar Impulse cockpit
7 of 14 Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Webcam view

André Borschberg, one of Solar Impulse's two pilots, is visible via a webcam.

solar-impulse-led-lights.jpg
8 of 14 Solar Impulse

Solar Impulse LED lights

The Solar Impulse 2 uses energy-efficient LEDs. Its 72-meter wingspan is wider than that of a Boeing 747.

solar-impulse-on-approach.jpg
9 of 14 Solar Impulse

Solar Impulse on approach

The Solar Impulse 2 descends to the runway in Oman. The plane's batteries charge during the day, letting it fly at night.

solar-impulse-touchdown.jpg
10 of 14 Solar Impulse

Solar Impulse touches down

The Solar Impulse 2 touches down after a 13-hour flight. Winds meant the plane circled over the Sea of Oman until conditions were more favorable.

solar-impulse-taxiing.jpg
11 of 14 Solar Impulse

Solar Impulse taxiing

Solar Impulse taxis along a runway in Oman after completing its first of 12 stages for a trip around the world.

solar-impulse-telemetry.jpg
12 of 14 Solar Impulse

Telemetry by Twitter

The SolarImpulse.com website went down Monday, but the project organizers posted their own telemetry data on Twitter.

Solar Impulse flight profile
13 of 14 Solar Impulse

Solar Impulse flight plan

The first trip in the round-the-world effort heads east from the United Arab Emirates to Oman. The batteries charge en route, a key part of the technology necessary to carry the plane through the night.

solar-impulse-mission-control.jpg
14 of 14 Solar Impulse

Solar Impulse mission control

The mission control for the Solar Impulse 2 flight is in Switzerland.

More Galleries

My Favorite Shots From the Galaxy S24 Ultra's Camera
A houseplant

My Favorite Shots From the Galaxy S24 Ultra's Camera

20 Photos
Honor's Magic V2 Foldable Is Lighter Than Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra
magic-v2-2024-foldable-1383

Honor's Magic V2 Foldable Is Lighter Than Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra

10 Photos
The Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Looks Sweet in Aluminum
Samsung Galaxy S24

The Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Looks Sweet in Aluminum

23 Photos
Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra Now Has a Titanium Design
The Galaxy S24 Ultra in multiple colors

Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra Now Has a Titanium Design

23 Photos
I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites
img-0368.jpg

I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites

34 Photos
17 Hidden iOS 17 Features and Settings on Your iPhone
Invitation for the Apple September iPhone 15 event

17 Hidden iOS 17 Features and Settings on Your iPhone

18 Photos
AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?
img-1599-2.jpg

AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?

17 Photos