Around-the-world solar flight to launch from Abu Dhabi

Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, the Swiss co-founders and pilots of Solar Impulse have revealed Abu Dhabi will be the launch site for their around-the-world by solar powered plane attempt.

Solar Impulse 2 on its maiden voyage.
Solar Impulse 2 on its maiden voyage.

Detailing the proposed feat, the plane will be able to fly day and night will land in 12 locations across the world and travel 35,000 kilometres in the first attempt to fly around the globe without using a drop of fuel.

Si2 will take-off from Abu Dhabi in late February or early March and return by late July or early August 2015.

“Masdar and the Emirate of Abu Dhabi are proud to host the departure, and hopefully safe arrival, of Solar Impulse and its pilots, as they dare to fly round the world using only the power of the sun,” said H.E Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, UAE minister of state and chairman of Masdar.

“Solar Impulse is a demonstration to prove the impossible can be possible, and that innovation knows no boundaries. As a leader delivering sophisticated renewable energy projects around the world, Masdar is a natural partner for such an innovative endeavour, which underscores the viability of solar technology.”

Solar Impulse 2 and its crew of 80 technicians, engineers and a communications team arrived in Abu Dhabi on January 6, 2015. During the remainder of the plane’s stay in the emirate, the team will conduct safety tests, test flights, and training to prepare for the mission ahead.

“Abu Dhabi is the ideal location for us to start and end our mission. Initiatives like Masdar have enabled the capital of the United Arab Emirates to be recognized as a global centre of innovation and clean technology,” said Bertrand Piccard.

“Masdar and Abu Dhabi are setting an example for the entire world, promoting the use of diverse, sustainable and clean energy sources by deploying some of the globe’s most sophisticated renewable energy projects. Most importantly, Masdar shares our unwavering commitment to ensuring a cleaner future for our planet.”

The first round-the-world solar adventure is estimated to take around 25 flight days, spread across five months and covering approximately 35,000 kilometres at speeds between 50 and 100 kmh.


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