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Solar Impulse 2 took-off from Abu Dhabi for a roud-the-world tour

News International-French

9 Mar 2015

Swiss explorers Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg launch their attempt at flying Round-The-World in a solar-powered airplane.

André Borschberg flew, performing the first stage of the Round-The-World Flight using zero fuel. Piccard will take the reins in Oman and continue onward to Ahmedabad (India). Co-pilots Piccard and Borschberg will take turns flying the single-seater experimental solar aircraft which is able to fly with perpetual endurance.

It has taken twelve 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 conceived through a pioneering spirit and innovation.

Capable of flying over oceans for several days and nights in a row, Solar Impulse will travel 35,000 kilometers around the world in 25 days over the course of roughly 5 months. Si2 will pass over the Arabian Sea, India, Myanmar, China and the Pacific Ocean. After crossing the Atlantic Ocean, the final legs include a stop-over in Southern Europe or North Africa before completing the Round-The-World flight at its final destination in Abu Dhabi, Solar Impulse’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.

On the tarmac ahead of the take-off, His Excellency Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar, wished pilots Piccard and Borschberg a safe and successful journey.

At approximately 10:00 am local time (GMT +4), Solar Impulse 2 will enter Omanian aerial space in the region of Al Ain at an altitude of approximately, 3,600 meters (12,000 ft.). Solar Impulse 2 will continue its ascension in the direction of Muscat reaching an altitude of approximately 5,800 meters (19,000 ft.). Once the aircraft reaches northern Muscat, Andre´ Borschberg will position the plane above the sea and loiter on a waiting pattern until traffic and weather conditions are suitable for landing. Solar Impulse 2’s estimated arrival at Muscat International Airport is 7:00 pm local time (GMT +4).

Solar Impulse is an airborne laboratory, genuinely made from technological solutions developed by a multidisciplinary team of 80 specialists and more than a hundred partners and consultants. Si2 is the largest aircraft ever built with such a low weight, equivalent to that of a small car. With a wing covered by more than 17,000 solar cells greater than a Boeing 747, the plane can fly up to an altitude of 8,500 meters at speeds ranging from 50 to 100 km/h.

The two pioneers will be required to demonstrate extraordinary endurance under extreme conditions, living in a 3.8m3 non-pressurized cockpit, unheated, with external temperatures ranging from -40 to +40 degrees Celsius. Crossing the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans in 5 days and 5 nights will certainly represent the highlights of this adventure.

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