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Si2 takes off!

Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
solar Impulse Picture from MyGreenPod Sustainable News

Under the intense and watchful eyes of the Solar Impulse team in Abu Dhabi and the Mission Control Center (MCC) in Monaco, Solar Impulse 2 has taken to the skies.

André Borschberg took off for Muscat, Oman this morning, in the first stage of a round-the-world flight using zero fuel. Bertrand Piccard will take the reins in Oman and continue onward to Ahmedabad (India). Co-pilots Piccard and Borschberg will take turns to fly the single-seater experimental solar aircraft, which can fly night and day.

‘We are very ambitious in our goal, but modest given the magnitude of the challenge. This is an attempt, and only time will tell if we can overcome the numerous weather, technical, human and administrative issues.’

Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, Solar Impulse

Round-the-world solar flight – clean technology and renewable energy can achieve the impossible

Solar Impulse


Inspiring innovation

It has taken 12 years for Bertrand Piccard (initiator and chairman) and André Borschberg (founder and CEO) to attempt to make their dream a reality; their aim is to use their pioneering spirit and innovation to demonstrate the importance of renewable energy.

‘The historic day has finally arrived. After months of intense preparation and collaboration with Masdar, Solar Impulse 2 is ready to embark on its attempt to circumnavigate the world using only the sun’s energy, demonstrating the power of clean technology.

‘This journey is a moment of national pride for the United Arab Emirates, as Abu Dhabi helped the mission team prepare for success. Together, we inspired thousands of students and professionals across the country, and I’m confident that such community engagement initiatives will be replicated across the globe, capturing the hearts and imaginations of the world and reaching our collective goal of a cleaner future.’

His Excellency Dr Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar

The journey

Capable of flying over oceans for several days and nights in a row, Solar Impulse 2 – ‘Si2’ – will travel 35,000km in 25 days over the course of roughly five 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 reaching 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 organise public events for governments, schools and universities.

A strong message

Solar Impulse is an ambitious scientific project, but for those passionate about exploration, this visionary journey is also a strong message for clean technologies.

Supported by Prince Albert of Monaco, UAE Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar H.E. Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Richard Branson and Al Gore, the #FutureIsClean initiative has been launched to recruit the drum up support for the worldwide adoption of clean technologies.

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, André 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).

Airborne laboratory

Solar Impulse is an airborne laboratory, made from technological solutions developed by a multidisciplinary team of 80 specialists and more than a hundred partners and consultants. The plane can fly up to an altitude of 8,500 meters at speeds ranging from 50 to 100km/h.

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

You can follow the adventure of the first round-the-world solar flight on, which features daily updates on the mission.

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