By Staff writer
Swiss pilot Bertrand Piccard pays tribute to Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan as he takes off on final test flight
Swiss pilot Bertrand Piccard on Monday dedicated his inaugural flight in Solar Impulse 2, which aims to complete the first solar-powered round-the-world journey, to Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Piccard took to the skies over Abu Dhabi for the first time to test the aircraft and made the dedication as he took off.
He said: "I dedicate my first flight here in Abu Dhabi with Solar Impulse to His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Commander of the UAE Armed Forces who has supported our project since the first time I met him 10 years ago.
"We extend our deepest and esteemed gratitude and respects to His Highness Sheikh Mohamed and to Masdar for their support in realising this historic flight".
Piccard's flight on Monday was the last test flight ahead of Solar Impulse's attempt to circumnavigate the world without a drop of fuel.
In the coming months, Piccard and Borschberg will take turns in the single-seater cockpit of the aircraft, which has been hosted by Masdar and Abu Dhabi since January for preparations and test flights ahead of its five-month journey.
Si2 will take-off from Abu Dhabi in the coming week and return by late July or early August. The route includes stops in Muscat, Oman; Ahmedabad and Varanasi, India; Mandalay, Myanmar; and Chongqing and Nanjing, China.
After crossing the Pacific Ocean via Hawaii, Si2 will fly across the US stopping in three locations - Phoenix, and New York City at JFK. A location in the Midwest will be decided dependent on weather conditions.
After crossing the Atlantic, the final legs include a stop-over in Southern Europe or North Africa before arriving back in Abu Dhabi.
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