A Plane Just Flew Around The World… Without A Single Drop Of Fuel

[Technology ★★★]


(P1) Only one year after it first took flight, a solar-powered plane has completed an epic around-the-world trip without burning a single drop of fuel.

(P2) The revolutionary zero-fuel aircraft, Solar Impulse 2, is piloted by Swiss engineer and businessman André Borschberg and Swiss psychiatrist and aeronaut Bertrand Piccard. The two have been developing the plane for over a decade to promote clean technologies.

(P3) The Solar Impulse 2 touched down Tuesday morning in Abu Dhabi, at the same airport where it embarked back in March 2015.

(P4) Over the last 16 months, Piccard and Borschberg took turns flying the aircraft nearly 27,000 miles, tallying eight world records along the way.

(P5) “We have traveled 40,000 kilometers without fuel. Now it’s your turn to take it further,” Piccard said. “We have enough solutions, enough technologies. We should never accept the world to be polluted only because people are scared to think in another way. The future is clean, the future is you, and the future is now.”

(P6) The Huffington Post reports, “The aircraft is made mostly of carbon fiber and is powered by 17,248 solar cells attached to its wings, which recharge four lithium polymer batteries. Despite its 236-foot wingspan, it weighs roughly the same as a Ford Explorer and nearly 200 times lighter than a Boeing 747. It reaches a top speed of 90 mph.”

WORDS: 222

SOURCE: http://www.sunnyskyz.com/good-news/1740/A-Plane-Just-Flew-Around-The-World-Without-A-Single-Drop-Of-Fuel

VOCABULARY: epic, touched down, embarked, tallying, carbon fiber, wingspan


If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Would you fly in a solar-powered plane? Why or why not?
  3. Should solar-powered energy be used more? Why or why not?
  4. What are some other renewable energy sources?


  1. How long did it take the plane to fly around the world?
  2. What kind of fuel does the plane run on?
  3. The plane took off and landed at the same airport. (T or F)
  4. How many people flew the plane?
  5. What source powers the plane?


What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • without burning a single drop of fuel (P1)
  • the revolutionary zero-fuel aircraft (P2)
  • took turns (P4)
  • powered by (P6)
  • top speed (P6)

Cambly Practice Button

Image source: Solar Impulse / Twitter https://twitter.com/solarimpulse

One thought on “A Plane Just Flew Around The World… Without A Single Drop Of Fuel

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