Solar Impulse 2 closes in on Circumnavigation with Cairo Arrival!
On its historical journey around the world, Solar Impulse 2 (Si2) – the solar airplane of Swiss pioneers Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg – landed in Egypt after a flight of two days and two nights (48 hours and 50 minutes) without fuel. This was the 16th leg, which crossed the Mediterranean Sea from west to east and covered a distance of 3'745 km (2’327 miles) powered only by the sun. Besides being the penultimate leg towards it starting point in Abu Dhabi (UAE), it was the last flight for André Borschberg who hands over the cockpit to Bertrand Piccard to finish the first ever Round-The-World Solar Flight.
Borschberg touched down at the Cairo International Airport, at 07:10 CET (05:10 UCT, 07:10 Local Time), after another special moment when circling over the iconic Pyramids and the Great Sphinx in Giza. The penultimate leg crossed seven countries and as well as negotiating busy air routes. Additionally, the slow-moving plane had to take account of a number of military operations in the Mediterranean/North Africa region.
“This was an emotional and meaningful leg for me, being able to enjoy once more the incredible sensation of flying day and night thanks only to the energy of the sun and enjoying fully the present moment. But it also brought back many memories about the project: from the moment I heard about Bertrand’s incredible vision of an airplane with perpetual endurance, to the creativity, motivation and spirit demonstrated by the entire team and partners throughout this adventure,” said André Borschberg, Co-Founder and CEO, who flew the solar powered aircraft to Egypt.
Now in Cairo, Si2 and the Solar Impulse Team are ideally positioned to attempt the last leg of the Round-The-World Solar Flight and will take off when the weather conditions are optimal in order to reach Abu Dhabi (USA) to complete the circumnavigation.
Photo Credit: Solar Impulse