Press Releases

Solar Impulse 2 Soars Across the Skies of Abu Dhabi

Successful Tests Flights for Solar Impulse 2 in Abu Dhabi

26 February 2015
“Solar Impulse 2” plane flies over major Abu Dhabi landmarks

Solar Impulse 2, the solar aircraft of Swiss pioneers Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, soared across the skies of Abu Dhabi during its first test flights in the emirate on Thursday.

With Piccard and Borschberg taking turns in the cockpit, the revolutionary single-seater sustainable aircraft will attempt the solar-powered flight around the world beginning this March from Abu Dhabi. Si2, the first airplane able to fly day and night without a drop of fuel, has successfully completed its maiden flight in the capital.

For 4 hours, professional test pilot Markus Scherdel tested the aircraft’s performance in the skies in the early morning. Following the initial test flight, Solar Impulse co-founder, CEO, and pilot Andre´ Borschberg, took to the skies of Abu Dhabi with Si2 for a full day test flight. They soared above Abu Dhabi landmarks including Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Corniche and Eastern Mangroves .The initial results are in line with calculations and simulations. For pilots Piccard and Borschberg, and their team of engineers, the purpose of these first test flights in Abu Dhabi were to test the aircraft’s performance and viability in a new environment with varied weather conditions. These flights were Si2’S first flights following the plane’s disassembly in Switzerland and reassembly in the emirate. There are several additional test flights scheduled for the coming week in order for the team and the aircraft to prepare to circumnavigate the world.

Commenting on the test flights, Dr. Nawal Al-Hosany, Director of Sustainability for Masdar, said, “Today, Solar Impulse 2’s first test flights in Abu Dhabi mark a major milestone in the plane’s preparation for its historic attempt to fly around the world. Masdar and the emirate share Solar Impulse’s commitment to reinforcing the importance of innovation in achieving sustainable development. We are proud to host Solar Impulse as the team diligently prepares for their innovative endeavor that underscores the viable application of solar energy and clean technology,” said Dr. Nawal Al-Hosany.

“These first test flights in Abu Dhabi are an important stage - a step closer towards the impending round-the-world solar flight attempt. Moreover, these flights are an emotional step for the entire team that has worked diligently over the past 3 weeks to reassemble the aircraft. I am elated to report that the plane’s performance is on par with our initial simulations. Si2 incorporates innovative technology to render the aircraft more efficient, reliable, sustainable and in particular, better adapted to long-haul flights. It is the first of its kind, an aircraft with perpetual endurance and now, we must ensure the sustainability of the pilot in-flight,” remarked André Borschberg, Solar Impulse Co-founder, CEO and pilot.

Bertrand Piccard, Solar Impulse initiator, chairman, and pilot added; “Today, suspense filled the air! The results indicate that our team of engineers can be very proud of their successful reassembly of the aircraft and their efforts since the vision’s inception 12 years ago. We’re one step closer to our round-the-world attempt and one step closer to inspiring people across the world to be pioneers in their own lives.”