Solar Impulse 2 arrives at Cairo

Solar Impulse 2 arrives at Cairo

Solar Impulse 2, the world’s largest solar powered plane, landed in Cairo, Egypt, after departing from Seville in Spain, on the penultimate leg of its round-the-world flight.

The plane, which reached Cairo on Wednesday, was piloted by André Borscherg. The plane took off from Seville, Spain, on July 11 at 6.20 a.m. for a 50 hour and 30 minute flight to Egypt, said a statment by Egypt’s tourism authority.

The Swiss-made, solar-powered plane travels at an average speed of 75 km/h and travels at a maximum altitude of 28,000 feet.

“This is Solar Impulse’s penultimate flight before reaching their long-awaited finish line,” Mohamed Yehia Rashed, Egypt’s Minister of Tourism said.

“We are honoured to welcome Solar Impulse 2 to Egypt, it is not every day that history is being made, but today we welcomed the first solar powered plane and we look forward to welcome our tourist aboard solar powered planes in the near future,” Rashed added, said the statement.

The plane utilises 17,248 solar cells that render fuel consumption unnecessary, weighs 2.3 tonnes and has a wingspan of 72 metres.

“Although this is our second to last flight, the challenges of finishing this round-the-world tour remain as true as always,” said Borschberg, who is taking turns flying the aircraft with fellow Swiss pilot Bertrand Piccard.

In 2015, the plane flew eight stages from Abu Dhabi to Kalaeloa, including a remarkable four-day, 21-hour leg over the western Pacific — the longest solo flight in aviation history in terms of the time it took.

It is slated to end its flight at Abu Dhabi.

Photo courtesy: Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters