From the Solar Impulse team, right after completion of the first Round-The-World solar flight:
We have now just watched our shared dream unveil, becoming a reality. It’s with great emotion that I write this last blog to report on the Round-the-World solar flights. Emotions, tears, relief, exhilaration is what we are all feeling right now after completing the first Round-the-World solar flight in history.
Bertrand Piccard made one last smooth landing, kissing the warm tarmac with his solar airplane after a 48 hour and 37 minute flight in Al Bateen Executive Airport, Abu Dhabi. He took off from Cairo, Egypt at 11:28PM UTC, 7:28PM EDT on July 23rd / 1:28AM CEST on July 24th and landed in Abu Dhabi at 12:05AM UTC, 2:05AM CEST on July 26th / 8:05PM EDT on July 25th. The solar airplane has now successfully made it full circle around the world, proving that clean technologies can really achieve the impossible.
The Mission Control Center in Monaco exploded with relief (and perhaps a little grief), as if the 13 years of weight on everyone’s shoulders had just evaporated.
This flight represents the most incredible wrap-up of this adventure. With André Borschberg joining his engineers one last time at the Mission Control Center in Monaco for the first half of the flight and Bertrand Piccard piloting the revolutionary solar airplane to the finish line.Inflight discussions were rich with passion and depth. Bertrand exchanged ideas with the dedicated UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the passionate Christiana Figueres (former Executive Secretary of UNFCCC), the adventurer David de Rothschild, the newly appointed Patricia Espinosa (current Executive Secretary of UNFCCC), the Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann, famous R&B artist Akon, and the charming actress Marion Cotillard – sharing this achievement with them.
Completing a 13-year exploit is perhaps the biggest challenge we now face. But as always, there are new adventures to come. And for the Solar Impulse team, there definitely will be a new dream seeking to be achieved.
And you might be asking what’s next? Surely dreams only grow with time. Now that both pilots have made it through this journey, surely there is more to come.
On a more personal note, I am proud to have been deeply involved in the development of Solef PVDF, an engineering polymer used in the batteries of the Solar Impulse, during my years working for Solvay, one of the main partners and sponsors of the project, first in research and later as product manager.