Solar Impulse Completes Round-The-World Flight


Powered only by sunlight, the Solar Impulse aircraft has completed its odyssey around the planet, and landed tonight back in Abu Dhabi, where it took off in March 2015. Bertrand Piccard flew the final leg, and guided the airplane in to the airport where he was greeted by dozens of crew members, a marching band and scores of local officials. The flawless landing was streamed live on the internet. “Thank you to each and every one of you,” said Piccard to the crew. “It is so amazing what you’ve done.” Piccard and Andrew Borschberg took turns flying the aircraft on its 17-leg flight.

The epic journey covered more than 21,747 miles, including a 5,545-mile, 118-hour flight from Japan to Hawaii, which set a new world record for longest uninterrupted solo flight. “The future is now,” Piccard said after exiting the airplane tonight. “Let’s take it further.” The aim of the project was to promote the use of clean technologies around the world. The top surfaces of the lightweight airplane are covered with solar cells, which charge the energy-dense batteries that power the four propellers.

This video, posted today by the Solar Impulse team, flashes through the global journey in a minute and a half.