ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A Swiss solar-powered plane took off from Abu Dhabi early Monday, marking the start of the first attempt to fly around the world without a drop of fuel.

Solar Power Plane Through Golden Gate Bridge

FILE – In this April 23, 2016 file photo, Solar Impulse 2 flies over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco at the end of its journey from Hawaii, part of its attempt to circumnavigate the globe. The next leg of the solar-powered around-the-world flight is scheduled to start from Mountain View, Calif., Monday, May 2, 2016, at 5 a.m. PDT, bound for Phoenix.(AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)[/caption]

Solar Impulse founder André Borschberg was at the controls of the single-seater when it took off from the Al Bateen Executive Airport. Borschberg will trade off piloting with Solar Impulse co-founder Bertrand Piccard during stop-overs on a journey that will take months to complete.

The cockpit of the solar-powered Solar Impulse 2 aircraft is pictured after a training flight at its base in Payerne November 8, 2014. From left to right instruments are : fuses, throttle, power management, autopilot, motor control, flying instruments and telecomunication. The aircraft, which was unveiled April 9, weighs 2.4 tons with a wingspan of 72 meters (236 ft.) and more than 17,000 solar cells. The attempt to fly around the world in stages using only solar energy will be made from March 2015 starting from Abu Dhabi. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse (SWITZERLAND – Tags: TRANSPORT ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY) – RTR4DDPX

The Swiss pilots say their aim is to create awareness about replacing “old polluting technologies with clean and efficient technologies.”
The plane is expected to reach its first destination — Muscat, Oman — after about 10 hours of flight.

Some legs of the trip, such as over the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, will mean five or six straight days of flying solo.
The lightweight Solar Impulse 2, a larger version of a single-seat prototype that first flew five years ago, is made of carbon fiber and has 17,248 solar cells built into the wing that supply the plane with renewable energy. The solar cells recharge four lithium polymer batteries.

Solar Plane

German test pilot Markus Scherdel lands the new experimental aircraft “Solar Impulse 2”, after its first flight at the airbase in Payerne, Switzerland, on June 2, 2014. The aircraft, which was unveiled April 9, 2014 weighs 2.4 tons with a wingspan of 72 meters and more than 17,000 solar cells. The attempt to fly around the world in stages using only solar energy will be made in 2015. AFP PHOTO / POOL / LAURENT GILLIERON (Photo credit should read LAURENT GILLIERON/AFP/Getty Images)

The Solar Impulse 2 prepares to depart from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, early Monday, March 9,
The company says the plane has a 72-meter (236-foot) wingspan, larger than that of the Boeing 747, but weighs about as much as a car at around 2,300 kilograms (5,070 pounds).

The plane in June made an inaugural flight of two hours and 17 minutes above western Switzerland, just two months after it was unveiled.

After Oman, the plane will head to India, where it will make two stops, then to China and Myanmar before heading across the Pacific and stopping in Hawaii. Then it will head to Phoenix, Arizona, and New York’s biggest airport, John F. Kennedy International. The path across the Atlantic will depend on the weather and could include a stop in southern Europe or Morocco before ending in Abu Dhabi.

The round-the-world trip is expected to end in late July or even August.

Borschberg and Piccard say they want to push politicians, celebrities and private citizens to “confront the Conference on Climate Change of the United Nations, which will define the new Kyoto protocol in December 2015 in Paris.” All countries are supposed to present targets for a new global climate agreement that governments plan to adopt at the meeting.

Solar Impulse supporter Prince Albert of Monaco was present at the Monaco control center during Monday’s takeoff.
The UAE-based Masdar, the Abu Dhabi government’s clean-energy company, is a key sponsor of the flight. Additional sponsors include Omega, Google and Moet Hennessey, among others.

Sources come from Solar Impulse: www.solarimpulse.com