Around the world with Solar Impulse
Posted on 28/07/2016

EnvironmentUnited Arab Emirates

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One year and four months, 17 stages, 500 flight hours and over 26,000 miles covered. Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg are the first people to have flown around the world without using a single drop of oil.

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  • Starting point: Abu Dhabi, UAE
    Starting point: Abu Dhabi, UAE

    The plane arrived in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, in Janaury 2015, where it underwent several months of preparation before the start of its journey.

  • Stage 1: Mascate, Oman
    Stage 1: Mascate, Oman

    After taking off from Abu Dhabi on March 9 2015, it reached the capital of Oman just over 13 hours later, piloted by André Borschberg.

  • Stage 2/3: Ahmedabad and Varanasi, India
    Stage 2/3: Ahmedabad and Varanasi, India

    The two following stages took the pilots over India. They had initially estimated that the journey would take around five months, with 25 days spent in the air. But due to both adverse weather conditions and technical problems, their flight time steadily increased.

  • Stage 4: Mandalay, Myanmar
    Stage 4: Mandalay, Myanmar

    After being delayed for several days in India, the team finally left India on March 18. Piloted by Bertrand Piccard, the plane landed in Myanmar after another 13-hour flight.

  • Stage 5/6: Chongqing and Nanjing, China
    Stage 5/6: Chongqing and Nanjing, China

    With two of their longest flight times yet the pilots managed to cross China, landing in Chongqing and Nanjing, where they would prepare for three even longer stages. By this point, the team already had a huge following around the world.


The world's first solar-powered plane, Solar Impulse, finally landed in Abu Dhabi earlier this week after an astounding 16-month voyage around the world. Its journey has made history, though its team hope it will be only the first step towards the use of renewable energy sources in aviation, even for long-haul flights.

For Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, the plane's two pilots, the journey has been not only record-breaking but a battle against the odds. In the slideshow above, we take a look at the incredible challenge they undertook and the difficulties, smiles and emotions they experienced all the way round.


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