Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg succeeded in their crazy dream of achieving the first ever Round-The-World Solar Flight. By landing back in Abu Dhabi after a total of 23 days of flight and 43'041 km travelled in a 17 leg journey, Solar Impulse 2 (Si2) has proven that clean technologies can achieve the impossible.
Beyond this historic milestone, the two Swiss pioneers will continue to urge the global implementation of energy efficient solutions through the creation of the International Committee for Clean Technologies and leverage the expertise and technology gained over the years in Solar Impulse by launching new innovative projects, such as the development of solar powered drones.
Coming from Egypt, Bertrand Piccard landed in Abu Dhabi this morning at 4:05 am local time (UTC+4) completing the final leg of an endeavor that was until now considered impossible: flying around the globe in an electric airplane powered only by the sun and capable of flying many days and nights in a row without fuel. This landing brings full circle the historic circumnavigation that began on 9 March 2015 when Si2 set off from Abu Dhabi with André Borschberg at the controls. Taking turns in the single-seater 3.8m3 cockpit, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg have flown Si2 around the world in 17 legs, crossing Asia, the Pacific Ocean, the USA, the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea and the Middle East. A total of 19 world records were set or are still pending by the World Air Sports Federation (FAI), in particular when André Borschberg accomplished the pioneering first of flying five consecutive days and nights over the Pacific Ocean from Japan to Hawaii in the longest duration a solo airplane of any kind has ever flown and when Bertrand Piccard achieved the historic first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in a solar airplane.
“This is not only a first in the history of aviation; it’s before all a first in the history of energy. I’m sure that within 10 years we’ll see electric airplanes transporting 50 passengers on short to medium haul flights. But it’s not enough. The same clean technologies used on Solar Impulse could be implemented on the ground in our daily life to divide by two the CO2 emissions in a profitable way. Solar Impulse is only the beginning, now take it further! ” said Initiator, Chairman and Pilot Bertrand Piccard addressing the crowd while exiting the cockpit of Si2.
“Flying one leg with a completely new type of airplane is difficult enough, but flying around the world is a real challenge. More than a demonstration, it’s the confirmation that these technologies are truly dependable and reliable,” emphasized CEO, Co-Founder and also Pilot André Borschberg. “There is so much potential for the aeronautical world: while one hundred percent solar powered airplanes might take longer to materialize, electric airplanes will develop in the near future because of their tremendous advantages such as energy efficiency.”