First Round-the-World Solar Flight Takes Off from Abu Dhabi

Solar Impulse founder Andre Borschberg is up, up and away, on his attempt to fly around the world without a drop of fuel.

The giant Solar Impulse Two takes to the skies of Abu Dhabi at the start of an attempt to make aviation history. Its crew of two are hoping to become the first to fly all the way around the world on solar power alone. What they hope will become a 35, 000 kilometre flight into legend will take five months to complete. The aircraft has taken 12 years to design and build. It has a wingspan of 72 metres, bigger even than a Boeing 747. Yet it weighs just 2, 300 kilogrammes, about the same as a family car, and travels at speeds between 50 and 100 kilometres an hour. The 17,000 solar cells embedded in its wings will harness the sun's rays for energy. It also has the advantage of being the first solar-powered plane which can fly through the night.

The first round-the-world solar flight, known as Solar Impulse 2, took off from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on March 9, 2015. Here are some key points about this historic event:

Solar-Powered Aircraft

Solar Impulse 2 was a pioneering aircraft designed to be powered solely by solar energy. It was equipped with four electric motors and carried thousands of solar panels on its wings to capture sunlight and convert it into electricity.

Global Journey

The flight aimed to circumnavigate the globe, covering a distance of approximately 26,000 miles (42,000 kilometers). The journey was divided into multiple legs, with several stops around the world to allow for necessary maintenance and pilot changes.


Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, Swiss pilots and co-founders of Solar Impulse, took turns piloting the aircraft during different legs of the journey. They aimed to promote clean technologies and demonstrate the potential of renewable energy.

Technical Challenges

The flight faced several technical challenges, including managing energy storage, navigating changing weather conditions, and overcoming limitations of solar power generation during nighttime and adverse weather.

Duration and Distance Records

Solar Impulse 2 successfully completed its round-the-world journey on July 26, 2016, after 17 different legs and a total flight time of over 500 hours. The flight set several records, including the longest solo flight duration and the longest distance covered by a solar-powered aircraft.

Promoting Renewable Energy

The Solar Impulse project aimed to raise awareness about the importance of renewable energy and energy efficiency in addressing climate change. It showcased the potential of solar power and inspired innovations in clean energy technologies.

The first round-the-world solar flight marked a significant milestone in the field of renewable energy and aviation, demonstrating the feasibility of solar-powered flight for long-distance travel. It highlighted the importance of sustainable solutions in aviation and inspired further advancements in clean energy technologies.


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"First Round-the-World Solar Flight Takes Off from Abu Dhabi "