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First round-the-world solar flight

First round-the-world solar flight

A record-breaking attempt to fly around the world in a solar-powered plane has completed its first leg.

The aircraft – called Solar Impulse-2 – took off from Abu Dhabi, heading east to Muscat in Oman.

With businessman and pilot Andre Borschbeg at the controls, the aircraft touched down in Oman at 16:14 GMT after a 12-hour flight.

Over the next five months, it will skip from continent to continent, crossing both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

“And there we are… confirmation we’re down. Solar Impulse has touched the ground,” a flight controller said as the plane’s wheels touched the tarmac.

The single-seater vehicle took off at 07:12 local time (03:12 GMT).

Mr Borschberg will share the pilot duties in due course with fellow Swiss, Bertrand Piccard.

The plan is to stop off at various locations around the globe, to rest and to carry out maintenance, and also to spread a campaigning message about clean technologies.

Before taking off, Borschberg told BBC News: “I am confident we have a very special aeroplane, and it will have to be to get us across the big oceans.

“We may have to fly for five days and five nights to do that, and it will be a challenge.

“But we have the next two months, as we fly the legs to China, to train and prepare ourselves.”

Monday’s leg to Oman covered about 400km. Details of the journey are beingrelayed on the internet.

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