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

Contact Us

The Royal Institute of Navigation
1 Kensington Gore

+44 (0)20 7591 3134

E-Mail Communication

The Royal Institute of Navigation periodically sends out email updates to its membership and those who have subscribed to events and conferences run by the RIN. In doing so, the RIN takes all reasonable precautions to ensure that the emails are only sent to those who have requested them, and that no third party can make unauthorised use of any email address to send out mailings.If you receive unsolicited mail from any address then please inform us at and we will take appropriate action.

Join the RIN

You can apply for any category of RIN membership by completing the online membership application form and paying using our secure credit/debit card payment system.

Join Now