UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon took to Skype to congratulate the pilot of the Solar Impulse 2 as the solar-powered aircraft completed its epic journey around-the-world spanning over 40,000 kms, saying it was a “historic day for humanity”. “My deepest admiration and respect for your courage,” Ban told pilot of the aircraft, Captain Bertrand Piccard, as he hailed the determination and courage of the Solar Impulse flight team in a live-streamed conversation. “This is a historic day, not only for you but for humanity.
“You may be ending your journey, but the journey to a sustainable world is just beginning,” Ban told Piccard via Skype, hours before the aircraft landed in Abu Dhabi .Solar Impulse, a lightweight aircraft with the wingspan of a Boeing 747, was on a nearly 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.
Piccard, who is also a UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Goodwill Ambassador, and Andre Borschbergare, completed their journey when the plane landed in Abu Dhabi, the same city where the historic voyage began more than a year ago.
The Secretary-General 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, 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 had last met the airplane’s pilots, as well as Solar Impulse’s ground crew, in June when the aircraft arrived at the city’s John F Kennedy Airport as part of its worldwide voyage. On that occasion, Ban also had a quick look, in person, of the aircraft.