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Solar Plane Makes Round-the-World Flight

Photonics.com
Aug 2016
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, August 1, 2016 — Swiss pioneers Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg achieved the first ever round-the-world solar flight in the Solar Impulse 2 zero-emission electric and solar airplane.

“This is not only a first in the history of aviation, it’s before all a first in the history of energy,” Piccard said. “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.”

André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard after the completion of the first Round-The-World Solar flight.
André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard after the completion of the first Round-The-World Solar flight. Courtesy of Solar Impulse/Chammartin/Rezo.ch.

Capable of flying day and night without fuel, the plane landed in Abu Dhabi after 17-leg journey of 23 days and 43,041 km.

“Flying one leg with a completely new type of airplane is difficult enough, but flying around the world is a real challenge,” Borschberg said. “More than a demonstration, it’s the confirmation that these technologies are truly dependable and reliable. There is so much potential for the aeronautical world. While 100 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.”

Following their flight, Piccard and Borschberg aim to advocate for global energy efficiency and the creation of the International Committee for Clean Technologies while launching new innovative projects such as the development of solar powered drones.

“We have flown 40,000 km around the world without fuel, but there is still a lot to be done to encourage a worldwide implementation of clean technologies and to motivate everyone to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels in their daily lives, hence the creation of the International Committee for Clean Technologies,” Piccard said.


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