A solar-powered aircraft is set to embark on a landmark flight around the world, a first-ever move aimed at promoting green energy.
Solar Impulse 2 (SI2) will take off, after a one-day delay due to high winds, from the United Arab Emirates’ capital of Abu Dhabi on Monday at 6:30 am (0230 GMT), its pilots said on Sunday.
Bertrand Piccard, chairman of Solar Impulse, a Swiss long-range solar-powered aircraft project, said, “We want to share our vision of a clean future,” adding, “Climate change is a fantastic opportunity to bring in the market new green technologies that save energy, save natural resources of our planet, make profit, create jobs, and sustain growth.”
Meanwhile, Andre Borschberg, co-founder and chief executive of Solar Impulse 2 said, “This project is a human project, it is a human challenge.”
The aviation industry ridiculed the pilots’ idea when it was first unveiled. However, Swiss pilots Borschberg and Piccard will run the project after 13 years of research and testing.
Piccard, the first person who circumnavigated the globe in a hot air balloon in 1999, insists that clean technology and renewable energy “can achieve the impossible.”
The solar-powered aircraft will land first in Muscat, Oman, and then it will make 12 stops on a grand journey in a time span of five months, with a total flight time of around 25 days.
A distance of 8,500 kilometers (5,270 miles) across the Pacific Ocean between Nanjing, China and Hawaii will be flown non-stop for five days.
SI2 is scheduled to return to Abu Dhabi in July.
The take-offs, landings, and daily news shows can be watched live at www.solarimpulse.com.