Solar Impulse 2 has completed its historic journey around the globe using only solar power. Travelling night and day over 17 legs since March 9th 2015, the plane was landed in Abu Dhabi by pilot Bertrand Piccard at 4.05am local time this morning.
Along with André Borschberg, Solar Impulse CEO, Co-Founder and Pilot, Piccard flew 43,041km (26,744 miles) to prove air travel is possible without the use of fossil fuels.
"Flying one leg with a completely new type of airplane is difficult enough, but flying around the world is a real challenge," says Borschberg.
"More than a demonstration, it's the confirmation that these technologies are truly dependable and reliable. There is so much potential for the aeronautical world: while 100 per cent solar powered airplanes might take longer to materialise, electric airplanes will develop in the near future because of their tremendous advantages such as energy efficiency."
Piccard adds: "This is not only a first in the history of aviation; it's before all a first in the history of energy. I'm sure that within ten years we'll see electric airplanes transporting 50 passengers on short to medium haul flights. But it's not enough. The same clean technologies used on Solar Impulse could be implemented on the ground in our daily life to divide by two the CO2 emissions in a profitable way. Solar Impulse is only the beginning, now take it further!"
Nineteen world records were set or are pending by the Solar Impulse team, including the longest solo flight in an aeroplane of any kind – five consecutive days and nights over the Pacific Ocean from Japan to Hawaii by André Borschberg. Bertrand Piccard followed this by completing the first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in a solar aeroplane.
Watch a video of Bertrand Piccard's landing in Abu Dhabi.