Solar Impulse 2 sets distance record

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André Borschberg welcomes team mate Bertrand Piccard upon landing in Ahmedabad (Photo: Solar Impulse)

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The Solar Impulse 2 solar-powered airplane may have only just begun its attempt at a round-the-world flight, but it's already broken a world record. By traveling from Muscat, Oman to Ahmedabad, India, it broke the Solar Impulse team's previous record for longest solar-powered straight distance flight between predeclared waypoints.

The 1,468-km (912-mile) Muscat to Ahmedabad flight was the second leg of the planned 5-month journey, which began this Monday in Abu Dhabi. Pilot Bertrand Piccard took the aircraft to an altitude of 8,534 meters (27,999 ft) and maintained a ground speed of about 100 knots (185 km/h or 115 mph), landing in Ahmedabad this Tuesday at 11:25pm. He was in the air for a total of 13 hours and 20 minutes.

The Solar Impulse 2 heads out from Muscat to Ahmedabad (Photo: Solar Impulse)

This latest record-breaking flight also reportedly marks the first time that a solar-powered aircraft has flown in Asia. Previously, the distance record was held by Piccard's team mate André Borschberg. He traveled 1,386.5 km (861.5 miles) in the smaller original Solar Impulse, as part of the duo's Mission Across America flight in 2013.

The team plans to spend the next four days in Ahmedabad before heading for Varanasi, India.

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