Egypt: Solar Impulse 2 Leaves Cairo for Final Leg of World Tour

Zero-fuel aircraft Solar Impulse 2 took off from Cairo en-route to Abu Dhabi on Sunday on the final leg of its tour around the world.

The aircraft, which uses only energy from the sun, left Egypt on Sunday and is set to arrive to its final destination in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), with a flight expected to take between 48 and 72 hours.

The history-making tour around the world began on March 9, 2015 from the UAE capital. The aircraft landed in Cairo on July 13 to finish the penultimate flight of its tour around the world after a flight from Seville in southern Spain that took almost 49 hours.

The plane had passed through Algerian, Tunisian, Italian and Greek airspace as well as over the Giza Pyramids before landing at Cairo International Airport earlier in July.

“Just took off from Cairo to achieve the 1st round-the-world solar flight. A dream I have since 1999,” pilot Bertrand Piccard tweeted on Sunday.

Swiss aviators Andre Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard took turns flying the aircraft over the entire tour, which aims to build support for clean energy technologies.

The aircraft has a 72-meter wingspan which is wider than that of a Boeing 747 and weighs 2.3 tonnes. It has more than 17,0000 solar cells built in to its wings to harness the sun’s energy and has an average speed of 70 kilometers per hour at a maximum altitude of 28,000 feet.

The aircraft, which made a total of 17 stops, recorded the longest non-stop solar-powered flight in terms of distance and duration during its journey from Japan to Hawaii as it landed after flying for 8,924km in four days, 21 hours and 52 minutes.

Source: Aswat Masriya.