Solar Impulse 2 begins world tour
Monaco, 9 March 2015 – At 4.12 a.m. Monaco time, 7.12 a.m. in Abu Dhabi, André Borschberg and Solar Impulse 2 took off for the initial stage of the round-the-world attempt by the first aircraft capable of flying both during the day and at night without using any fuel or emitting any pollutants.
At the Monaco Control Centre (MCC), the entire team led by Raymond Clerc asked H.S.H. Prince Albert II to give the “Go” to the pilot waiting on standby on the runway at the airport in the UAE. “André, I have great news for you. I am authorised to give you the final go-ahead for take-off. I wish you a good flight and hope the sun shines for you,” said the Prince, who was accompanied for the occasion by H.E. Mr Michel Roger, the Minister of State, and H.E. Mr Bernard Fautrier, Vice President of the Prince Albert II Foundation.
The first flight is scheduled to land in Muscat (Sultanate of Oman) at around 5 p.m. Central European Time (CET).
Here is what those involved had to say about the occasion:
H.S.H. Prince Albert II:
“I am very honoured to have given the green light for this great adventure to begin. [...] I am very moved and am finding it difficult to hide the enthusiasm which I have felt for a very long time for this project. It is a powerful message of hope for renewable energy, opening the door wide open for lots of innovation.”
Raymond Clerc – Mission Flight Director
“It was time to go: we were finally ready after several days’ delay due to the weather in Abu Dhabi. There was a lot of pressure. We can’t take any risks. During the flight, all the engineers are focused here at the MCC, to ensure that everything goes well. After the flight, once the aircraft is on the ground, then there will be time for emotion.”
André Borschberg – Pilot (from the flight deck, after receiving the green light from H.S.H. the Sovereign Prince)
“Thank you, Your Highness. Our thoughts are with you there in Monaco; you have been a great support since the beginning of this project. We will do all we can to fly over the Principality on our route. It would give us a great deal of pleasure to be able to pay tribute to you in this way.”
You can see details of the route at www.solarimpulse.com