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Solar-powered plane takes off on final leg of epic challenge

Solar-powered plane takes off on final leg of epic challenge

Egypt

An aircraft – powered by solar energy – has left Egypt on the last leg of the first ever fuel-free flight around the world.

Solar Impulse 2 climbed out of Cairo on Sunday in darkness, bound for Abu Dhabi – a journey that’s expected to take between 48 and 72 hours.

The carbon fibre plane – which has a wingspan larger than a jumbo jet, but weighs the same as a family car – set off on its epic challenge in March last year.

The Swiss aviators taking turns to fly it are hoping the project will boost support for clean energy technologies.

The aircraft’s four engines are powered solely by energy collected from more than 17,000 solar cells in its wings.

It relies on solar energy collected during the day and stored in batteries for electrical energy to fly at night.