Solar Impulse takes to the skies on first round-the-world solar flight

Solar Impulse 2 set course from Abu Dhabi to Muscat on the first leg of a groundbreaking attempt to fly across the globe powered only by energy from the sun

Twelve years of inspiration, innovation and perspiration from a highly dedicated Solar Impulse team culminated in the Solar Impulse plane successfully taking off from the Al Bateen executive airport in Abu Dhabi at 07:12 local time yesterday. Hailing from a family of adventurers this day fulfilled Bertrand Piccard’s dream of one day flying a plane with no fuel whatsoever.

— Bertrand PICCARD (@bertrandpiccard) March 9, 2015

Piloted by André Borschberg, Solar Impulse CEO and former fighter pilot, the plane set course for Muscat on the first of 12 legs of an historic attempt to fly 35000 kilometers across the globe in a purely solar-powered aircraft.

The single-seater aircraft, with a wingspan wider than that of a Jumbo 747 and its weight the equivalent of a family car, set off on the estimated twelve hour flight, covering 400 kilometers to Muscat International Airport.

Standing by for its arrival on the tarmac is a state-of-the-art mobile hangar designed to house, cool and protect the plane. The hangar, which takes six hours to set up, travels around with the Solar Impulse crew and is looked after by a 20-strong team, which includes ABB field engineer Tamara Tursijan.


Photo gallery: images taken on the day of the takeoff


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ABB’s Middle East renewables portfolio offers backdrop for Solar Impulse takeoff


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Gregory Hollings

Working every day to produce stories that highlight ABB's innovations!
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