This beautiful solar-powered plane is huge -- and it's flying around the world

Solar ImpulseGetty ImagesAround the world. Slowly.

According to Bloomberg, it’s as big as a Boeing 747 but weighs only as much as a “family car.”

It’s the Solar Impulse, an aircraft that powered by light — but that can still soar in darkness because it uses batteries to store energy gathered during daytime flight.

It isn’t exactly supersonic, however. But it’s currently flying around the world. And it’s going to take rather less than 80 days.

Last year, Bloomberg reported that the duo of pilots taking turns at the controls would need to “withstand flying non-stop for five days and nights to prepare for ocean crossings stuffed in a tiny cabin travelling as high as 27,000 feet at about 45 miles per hour.”

Solar Impulse-2Screenshoot via YouTube/Solar ImpulseThe plane has flown from San Francisco to New York.

The aircraft has covered vast distances before: In 2013, it was flown (slowly) across the U.S., in multiple legs, and it’s flown (slowly) across continents, from Switzerland to Morocco.

Even though it lacks afterburners, it still looks cool, lazily transiting the skies above the world’s cities.

Solar Impulse-3Screenshoot via YouTube/Solar ImpulseParis airspace has also been visited.

Here are some more photos of the spectacular aircraft and its pilot as they fly around the globe.

Solar ImpulseMARWAN NAAMANI/AFPPreparing for takeoff.
Solar Impulse PilotsAFPSwiss pilot Bertrand Piccard (left) and his compatriot pilot Andre Borschberg.
Solar ImpulseMARWAN NAAMANI/AFPSoaring above the Middle East.
Solar ImpulseMARWAN NAAMANI/AFPFlying is for the birds?

Check out this recent video, from the organisation behind the plane:

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