ABU DHABI – Aviation adventurers, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, began their attempt to fly the solar-powered aircraft, Solar Impulse 2 (Si2), around the world, March 9, 2015, from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Capable of flying over oceans for several days and nights in a row, Si2 will travel 35,000 kilometers around the world in 25 days over the course of roughly 5 months. Piccard and Borschberg are taking turns flying the single-seat aircraft.
Si2 took off from Abu Dhabi for Muscat (Oman), and then across the Arabian Sea to Ahmedabad (India). During its flight, the aircraft will pass over the Arabian Sea, India, Myanmar, China and the Pacific Ocean. After crossing the Atlantic Ocean, the final legs include a stopover in Southern Europe or North Africa before completing the round-the-world flight at its final destination in Abu Dhabi, Si2’s official host city. During the 12 scheduled stops, the Solar Impulse team and its partners will organize public events for governments, schools and universities.
It took 12 years for Bertrand Piccard (initiator and chairman), and André Borschberg (founder and CEO), to be able to finally attempt to make their dream a reality – demonstrating the importance of renewable energy.
With a wingspan larger than a Boeing 747, covered by more than 17,000 solar cells, the aircraft can fly up to an altitude of 8,500 meters (27,887 feet MSL) at speeds ranging from 50 to 100 km/h (31-62 mph/27-54 kts).