Zero-fuel plane Solar Impulse 2 completes world trip in Abu Dhabi
Fossil fuels are old school.
That point was proven this week as Solar Impulse 2 (Si2) – a plane run entirely on solar power – completed its circumnavigation of the globe, with its final Cairo to Abu Dhabi flight marking the 17th and final segment of its journey.
The flight began in Abu Dhabi back in March 2015, and has since seen Si2 tackle Pacific and Atlantic crossings on clean energy alone.
The plane touched down on Tuesday at 4.05am at Al Bateen Executive Airport to a welcome party of important folk, including H.E. Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar, as well as His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco and Her Excellency Doris Leuthard, Vice President of the Swiss Confederation.
Here’s the video of the final landing to mark the momentous achievement:
Prince Albert paid tribute to the zero-fuel feat, saying: “Solar Impulse will mark our history. And we will remember this day, which will remain the day of great victory for solar aviation, and also the day when we were given the proof that we can move towards a low-carbon economy, reconciling the mobility and progress we all need, with the protection of our planet, which is our greatest duty.”
Piloted by Swiss nationals Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, the plane made stops in Oman, India, Myanmar, China, Japan, the USA, Spain and Egypt before returning to Abu Dhabi.
— SOLAR IMPULSE (@solarimpulse) July 26, 2016
At some points, the pilots would have had to spend five days cooped up inside the plane – which contains no heating, no shower, and a toilet that consists of a hole in the seat.
The pilots were unable to stand up and could only recline their seats for rest or exercise.
Check out how small their living space is:
Their diets consisted of mushy foods, including quinoa, spelt, mushroom risotto, tabouleh and more.
Speaking on the completion of their journey and their arrival in Abu Dhabi, Piccard and Borschberg said, “We are thrilled to be back in Abu Dhabi and humbled by the warm welcome of the UAE.
“The unstinting support of Abu Dhabi and Masdar has been an indispensable part of our record-breaking journey.
“If innovators around the world can work together with the same spirit demonstrated by Solar Impulse and its partners, a more sustainable future for all is an achievable goal.”