Solar Impulse 2 touched down in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, 26 July, 505 days after taking off from Abu Dhabi to circle the globe in an attempt to complete the world’s first fossil fuel free round-trip.
Spending over 23 days in the air, 558 hours & 7 minutes, Solar Impulse completed the world’s first electric flight across the planet, carrying over 17,000 solar cells.
The historic flight took off from Abu Dhabi in March 2015, with Swiss pilots Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, with the goal of flying across the world in a never before attempted 40,000 kilometer flight.
After 15 years in the making, the trip was made on board the solar powered prototype, Solar Impulse 2. With a wingspan of over 71 meters, Solar Impulse weighs in at about 2.3 tons, and can reach a maximum speed of 140 kilometer per hour.
Even though the plane can fly uninterrupted, the pilots had to take alternating turns since conditions on-board the one-man cockpit aren’t very comfortable.
One of the harder flight carried out by the team was the 6,400 kilometer stretch over the Pacific Ocean, from Japan to Hawaii, setting a world record for the longest uninterrupted flight in aviation history.
The cutting-edge technology on the plane, charges the plane’s heavy batteries during daylight, and runs on stored electricity during nights. Flying at an average speed of 50 kilometers per hour, the plane climbs to 8800 meters during sunlight, and ascends to 1,500 meters during dark, to save energy.
Solar Impulse has announced that their next project will be unmanned, solar powered, aerial vehicles that can perform similar tasks we use satellites for, and more.