Abu Dhabi prepares for first solar flight

Solar Impulse representatives have arrived in Abu Dhabi to meet with local authorities in preparation for the plane’s arrival in January. With the historic flight scheduled to take off from Abu Dhabi next March, pilots of the Solar Impulse 2 (Si2) will conduct test flights and perform fine-tuning exercises this January, in preparation for the five month journey.

The plane, and its two co-founders, will attempt to fly around the world – without a drop of fuel – only using the power of the sun.

Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, is an official host partner of Si2 and Abu Dhabi will be the location of the plane’s departure and arrival.

“It’s fitting that we’re departing from Abu Dhabi,” said Bertrand Piccard, chairman, initiator and pilot of  Si2, “as the emirate is a true energy leader committed to realizing a cleaner tomorrow.

Preparations are well under way for the planes arrival in Abu Dhabi, ahead of the five-month round-the-world flight.

“With less than six months until departure, we can feel the pressure. The plane must be tested and the entire flight path, including all landing permissions, organised,” explained André Borschberg, co-founder and pilot of Si2.

The announcement of Abu Dhabi as the host city and Masdar’s partnership with Si2 was made during the UN Climate Summit last month in New York.

“The departure of Solar Impulse – and its journey around the world – is a historic event that Abu Dhabi will play an important role in,” said Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, chairman of Masdar. “In fact, Solar Impulse and Masdar share a common goal of advancing renewable energy and innovative clean technologies. More importantly, we aim to also inspire future generations to explore new horizons and push the boundaries of science and technology.

Si2 will be assembled in Abu Dhabi at a specially designated location where safety tests and training will also be undertaken. The plane will be showcased during the World Future Energy Summit, as part of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, January 17-24, when the public will have the opportunity to view the plane and meet the pilots.

The round-the-world flight will take approximately five months, with stops expected in Asia, the United States, Southern Europe or North Africa, before returning to Abu Dhabi in July 2015.




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