Solar plane completes epic trip
SOLAR Impulse 2 landed yesterday in the UAE, completing its epic journey to become the first sun-powered airplane to circle the globe without a drop of fuel to promote renewable energy.
The plane touched down at 4:05am in Abu Dhabi after a morethan-48-hour-long flight from Cairo, the final leg in its journey which began on March 9 last year.
Cheers and clapping welcomed the plane as it arrived at Al-Bateen Executive Airport, where it first launched its world tour.
Swiss explorer and project director Bertrand Piccard was in the cockpit during the 2763-kilometre (1717-mile) flight from Cairo, crossing the Red Sea, the vast Saudi des- ert and the Gulf.
The flight capped a remarkable 42,000km journey across four continents, two oceans and three seas.
“The future is clean, the future is you, the future is now, let’s take it further,” said Mr Piccard.
“One thing I would like for you to remember: More than an achievement in the history of aviation, Solar Impulse has made an achievement in [the] history of energy,” he said.
Hours before landing, United Nations Secretary General Ban Kimoon lavished praise on the team in a live-streamed conversation.
“My deepest admiration and respect for your courage,” he said.
Bertrand Piccard (left) and Andre Borschberg, pilots of the solar-powered Solar Impulse 2 aircraft, celebrate at the Al-Bateen Airport in Abu Dabi yesterday.