World’s First Solar-Powered Plane Arrives in Abu Dhabi

12.01.2015 Aviation & Space
World’s First Solar-Powered Plane Arrives in Abu Dhabi

World’s First Solar-Powered Plane Arrives in Abu Dhabi

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Solar Impulse 2 (Si2), the world’s first solar-powered plane able to fly day and night without a drop of fuel, arrived in Abu Dhabi by cargo plane from Switzerland.

Si2’s crew of 80 technicians, engineers and a communications team will spend the next week re-assembling the giant plane and readying it for public display this month at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), held from January 17 to 22, in advance of its March take-off on its round-the-world flight.

Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company and official host partner of Solar Impulse, has arranged for Si2 to be assembled and housed at Al Bateen Executive Airport in the heart of Abu Dhabi. Students and guests attending ADSW will have the opportunity to meet the pilots and learn about solar Impulse 2.

“The presence of Solar Impulse in Abu Dhabi - and its journey around the world - is a historic achievement that will leave a lasting impact on Abu Dhabi, the world and the field of science,” said Dr Ahmad Belhoul, CEO of Masdar.

“Masdar is contributing to Abu Dhabi’s commitment to foster a culture of innovation by pushing the boundaries of clean technology. Partnering with Solar Impulse showcases what human ingenuity can achieve, which will hopefully inspire our youth to pursue careers in science and to advance technology,” he said.

During the plane’s stay in Abu Dhabi, safety tests and training will be conducted to prepare for the historic attempt to fly the aircraft around the world, piloted by its two inventors -- Bertrand Piccard, Chairman and Initiator of Si2, and André Borschberg, Solar Impulse Co-Founder and CEO. 

“With less than 2 months until departure, our team is eager to reassemble the aircraft and reveal this feat of engineering to Abu Dhabi. The plane was carefully disassembled just a few weeks ago. Component parts were removed, carefully labeled, and packaged for transit to Abu Dhabi. The hangar floor of the Payerne Aerodrome in Switzerland resembled a giant jigsaw puzzle, showing just how many components have been precisely engineered for this innovative airplane,” said Borchberg.

The announcement of Masdar’s partnership with Si2 and the choice of Abu Dhabi as the host city was made on the side lines of the UN Climate Summit in New York. Since the announcement, Abu Dhabi and Masdar have diligently prepared for the plane’s arrival and is confident that the partnership will serve to further enhance Masdar’s already strong engagement with the community.

The round-the-world flight plans to have stops in Asia, US, and Southern Europe or North Africa, before returning to Abu Dhabi in late July or early August 2015, depending on weather conditions. The plane’s finalized global flight path will be announced at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.



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