Abu Dhabi, capital city of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), will be the start and finish of the first solar-powered flight around the world, which co-founders and pilots, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg are planning to undertake in March 2015 with Solar Impulse 2.
The announcement was made in New York during the United Arab Emirates reception held on the sidelines of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly.
Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, is the host partner of Solar Impulse. The team will be hosted by Masdar and Abu Dhabi for two months at the start of January for testing and training before the start of the first round-the-world solar flight, which is due to take place in March 2015.
SOLAR IMPULSE 2 is the only airplane of perpetual endurance, able to fly day and night on solar power, without a drop of fuel.
In 2015 Solar Impulse 2 will demonstrate how pioneering spirit, innovation and clean technologies can change the world by attempting the First Round-The-World Solar Flight.
Solar Impulse 2 made its maiden flight on June 2. Since then it has completed 11 successful test flights. The plane’s predecessor, Solar Impulse 1, became the first solar airplane ever to fly through the night. The plane undertook successful solar-powered flights from Switzerland to Spain and Morocco as its first inter-continental flight, and conducted a multi-stage flight across the USA in 2013. Solar Impulse 1 is credited with eight Fédération Aéronautique Internationale world records, including absolute height: 9235 m (30300 ft); duration: 26 hours, 10 minutes, 19 seconds and free distance: 1506.5 km (936 miles).
Masdar has been tasked by the UAE government with investing in and advancing the renewable energy and clean technology industry both domestically and internationally.
H. E. Dr. Sultan Ahmad Al Jaber, UAE minister of state and chairman of Masdar said: “Abu Dhabi, Masdar and Solar Impulse have in common a pioneering spirit, a long-term vision and a desire to explore new horizons. We share a commitment to foster the development of technological advances in alternative energy sources in order to contribute to a cleaner, more sustainable future.”
The arrival of Solar Impulse 2, in Abu Dhabi, will act as a local and regional catalyst and leave a lasting legacy, inspiring Emirati youth to take an interest in aeronautics, science, clean technology and renewable energy. During Solar Impulse 2’s stay, school visits and educational workshops will be held, during which students and others will be able to learn about the cutting-edge technologies designed to make the round-the-world flight possible.