Solar Impulse pilot on remarkable journey


n Skype video chat, Ban applauds Solar Impulse pilot on remarkable journey

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) speaks with Solar Impulse pilot Captain Bertrand Piccard (on screen) via Skype video chat. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

25 July 2016 – United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon has hailed the determination and courage of the Solar Impulse team as the aircraft completes is around-the-world, solar-powered journey.

“You may be ending your journey, but the journey to a sustainable world is just beginning,” Mr. Ban said to the pilot of the aircraft, Captain Bertrand Piccard, via Skype, the global, online video conferencing tool.

Solar Impulse, a lightweight aircraft with the wingspan of a Boeing 747, is on a 27,000-mile (about 43,450-kilometre) journey around the world. It is entirely powered by sunlight through 17,000 solar cells built into its carbon fibre wings, with no fuel or polluting emissions. Captain Piccard, who is also a UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Goodwill Ambassador, and André Borschbergare are expected to complete their journey when the planes lands tonight in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, the same city where the historic voyage began more than a year ago.

The Secretary-General further said: “You are helping pilot us to that future through your vision, your determination, your courage, and your inspiration and also your great example.”

Thanking them for spreading the message of sustainability around the world, Mr. Ban added, “Now you have been flying more than 40,000 kilometres without fuel, but I know that you have much energy, much energy.”

The UN chief last met the airplane's pilots, as well as Solar Impulse's ground crew in June when the aircraft arrived at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport as part of its worldwide voyage. At that occasion, Mr. Ban also had a quick look, in person, of the aircraft.