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08.42 26 Jul 2016


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The first plane to fly around the world powered only by the sun has finished its inaugural journey.

The Solar Impulse 2 touched down in Abu Dhabi this morning, successfully completing its trip which began 16 months ago.

The aircraft is powered by more than 17,000 solar cells in its wings.

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The 40,000km journey is the first made without fuel, with the Solar Impulse team describing it as a "first for energy".

The final touchdown came after a 48 hour and 37 minute flight from Cairo.

In a blog post, the team behind the project wrote: "We have now just watched our shared dream unveil, becoming a reality.

"Emotions, tears, relief, exhilaration is what we are all feeling right now after completing the first Round-the-World solar flight in history."

They added that 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".

The United Nations congratulated the Solar Impulse team on their successful flight, with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon having spoken with pilot Bertrand Piccard during the final leg of the round-the-world trip.


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