Pioneering example of plastics’ potential in aviation the Solar Impulse 2 has landed in Abu Dhabi more than a year after it first took off.
The Solar Impulse 2 is a flight project managed by Swiss SI2 pilots Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg to showcase the ultimate harnessing of renewable energy, as the SI2′s only energy source is solar.
The aircraft comprises 17,248 photovoltaic cells and a host of sophisticated engineering plastics technology – much of which has been developed by partner company Solvay. The single-seat aircraft is made of composites and has a wing span of 72 metres, exceeding the wing span of a jumbo jet even though its weight is less than2.3tonnes, or the same as a passenger-less car.
A few hours before touching down in Abu Dhabi on July 26th 2016, Piccard spoke to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon live from the Si2 cockpit.
“Solar Impulse has flown more than 40,000 kilometers without fuel, but with an inexhaustible supply of energy and inspiration,” he said.
“This is a historic day for Captain Piccard and the Solar Impulse team, but it is also a historic day for humanity,” said the UN Secretary-General. “You may be ending your around the world flight today, but the journey to a more sustainable world is just beginning. The Solar Impulse team is helping to pilot us to that future.”
The Solar Impulse has travelled 40,000km making 17 stops to landing sites in India, China, the US, Italy, Egypt and the UAE.