News Item

Solar Impulse completes circumnavigation

The solar-powered aircraft has today landed in Abu Dhabi, finishing its 16-month, 42,000 km round-the-world flight.

The last leg saw one of the 2 pilots, Bertrand Piccard, leave Cairo at 2328 UTC on 23 July and arrive back at the starting point of Abu Dhabi 2 days and 37 minutes later, at 0005 UTC on 26 July. Distance covered on the final leg is reported as 2,694 km (1,455 NM) at a maximum altitude of 8,534 m (~28,000 ft).

The entire flight comprised 17 legs and set off from Abu Dhabi on 9 March 2015, flown by the other pilot in the team, André Borschberg. One leg - the planned 144-hour flight from Nanjing, China to Hawaii - was forced by weather to divert to Nagoya, Japan, but still produced the world record for longest duration uninterrupted solo flight, at 117 h 52 m. Batteries had to be replaced after this leg, leading to a postponement of ~10 months. Total distance of the 17 legs was ~42,000 km (~22,680 NM).

The single-crew aircraft has a span of 63.4 m (~208 ft) and carries 11,628 photovoltaic cells which can produce 45 kW peak power; the 4 electric motors and lithium-ion batteries can produce 7.5 kW (10 HP) each. Maximum take-off weight is 2,000 kg (4,400 lb). Take-off speed is 19 kt and cruising speed 37 kt. The normal service ceiling is ~28,000 ft, with a maximum altitude of 39,000 ft.

We congratulate the pilots and Solar Impulse team on their outstanding achievement.

Further details from the links below . .

  • 26 July 2016
  • RIN

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