The future of flight: Solar Impulse lands in Abu Dhabi

Travel News 31 Jul 2016
Solar Impulse landing in Cairo
Solar Impulse taking off in Hawaii
The Solar Impulse II completed the first solar-powered flight around the world on Tuesday 26 July, 2015, landing in Abu Dhabi and creating history in the pursuit of clean energy.

The non-stop flight landed 16 months after it first took off on March 9, 2015, an initiative supported by Masdar to encourage and champion the use of clean energy. The flight comes at an ironic period of aviation, as airlines benefit from the lowest price of jet fuel in decades. 

The two pilots, Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg, both of Swiss nationality, are committed to heightening awareness about what can be achieved through clean energy. 

"I'm sure that within 10 years we'll see electric airplanes transporting 50 passengers on short to medium haul flights," said Piccard. 

Almost spanning the same width as a Boeing 747, the Solar Impulse 11 has 17,248 solar cells which are designed to soak up the sun's energy in order to power the planes four batteries that enable it to fly both day and night. 

The project, which lasted 13 years, cost $170million (Dh624.41million) which included the construction of both planes as well as supporting the team of 120. 

What's next for the Solar Impulse 2? Right now, celebration, as the entire team heads to Monaco under the invitation of Prince Albert II of Monaco. As for the development of clean energy, the flight has provided data which will assist in the further innovations in solar flight. Let's hope the future of travel is a clean one.