The Solar Impulse 2 has landed in Oman, completing the initial leg of its bid to become the first solar-powered plane to fly around the world.

The plane touched down in Muscat after nightfall, 13 hours and two minutes after taking off from Abu Dhabi.

The one-seater plane has solar panelled covered wings as big as those of a jumbo jet, but it is the weight of a car.

Two Swiss pilots will take turns to fly the 12 stages of the journey, which should take five months to complete.

The longest single leg will see a lone pilot fly non-stop for five days across the Pacific Ocean, a distance of 8,500km.

Solar Impulse 2 took off from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates en route to the Omani capital Muscat in a journey organised to focus the world's attention on sustainable energy.

"Solar Impulse wants to mobilise public enthusiasm in favour of technologies that will allow decreased dependence on fossil fuels, and induce positive emotions about renewable energies," said the mission website, which maps out the plane's location and broadcasts audio from the cockpit in real time.

Studies, design and construction took 12 years and a first version of the craft rolled out in 2009 broke records for heights and distances travelled by a manned solar plane.

The flight will make stopovers in India, Burma and China before crossing the Pacific Ocean and flying across the United States and southern Europe to arrive back in Abu Dhabi.

"Miracles can be achieved with renewables such as solar power," Swiss pilot Bertrand Piccard, who also made the first non-stop circumnavigation of the globe in a balloon in 1999, told Reuters in January.

"We want to show we can fly day and night in an aircraft without a drop of fuel," he said.

Companies involved in the project include Bayer AG, Solvay, ABB, Schindler, Omega and Abu Dhabi's Masdar.