Swiss pilot Bertrand Piccard completed his 17-leg journey around the globe onboard his Solar Impulse plane on Monday, marking the first ever recorded round-the-world solar-powered flight.
Piccard and co-pilot Andre Borschberg landed in Abu Dhabi on Monday, the same location where their circumnavigation attempt began in 2015. The pilots took off from Cairo on July 23 to complete their journey.
Solar Impulse Eyes The Future Of Air Travel
The astonishing achievement has been welcomed as a testament to the prowess of clean alternative energy. As Piccard explains on his website, the Solar Impulse is able to travel all day and night without fuel.
"By landing back in Abu Dhabi after a total of 21 days of flight travelled in a 17-leg journey, Si2 has proven that clean technologies can achieve the impossible," Solar Impulse said in a statement. "Beyond this historic milestone, the two Swiss pioneers will continue to urge the global implementation of energy efficient solutions through the creation of the International Committee for Clean Technologies and leverage the expertise and technology gained over the years in Solar Impulse by launching new innovative projects."
The clean energy venture added the Swiss pioneers will explore new possibilities in solar-powered aeronautics. Piccard and Borschberg are also eyeing the creation of solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs.
Round-the-world flights are not a first for Swiss pilot Piccard. The aerospace pioneer initially achieved international fame when he became the first person to make a non-stop round-the-world balloon flight. According to Piccard, a green economy is achievable only if the world's governments are willing to invest in a clean future.
"If governments had the courage to promote clean technologies on a massive scale, our society could simultaneously reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, create jobs and stimulate sustainable growth," he said in a statement.
The solar-powered aircraft flew for an accumulated 26,000 miles on its 17-leg journey. Solar Impulse has invited followers to join the movement with the hashtag #futureisclean.