Solar Impulse Round-The-World-Flight: A Powerful Symbol for Innovation

Beijing (China), 8 December 2014: The first Round-The-World Solar Flight with Solar Impulse designates China as a key stop along the way. Solar Impulse’s co-founders Bertrand Piccard, Chairman and Pilot and André Borschberg, CEO and Pilot, presented their audience with an unprecedented adventure — a round-the-world solar flight without a single drop of fuel. With two landings planned in China and a partnership with Sina, the pilots presented their intention with Solar Impulse, a single-seater solar aircraft with a gigantic wingspan, designed to complete the challenge in 2015.


The Round-The-World flight mission starting in Abu Dhabi in March 2015 is expected to take 25 flying days over a period of 4 to 5 months. The pilots intend to make stopovers in China, the United States and in Southern Europe or North Africa, before returning to Abu Dhabi in the summer of 2015. Some flights over the Pacific and the Atlantic will last five to six days, a feat made possible by Solar Impulse’s ability to fly almost perpetually, only with the power of the sun. Landings will be made every few days to change pilots and organize public events for governments, schools and universities.

The Solar Impulse Round-The-World-Flight is a unique mission showing how clean technologies and renewable energies can accomplish the impossible. It aims to inspire people across all nations to unite behind one common goal: the commitment to a more sustainable future.

“Solar Impulse was not built to carry passengers but to carry messages. We want to demonstrate the importance of innovation and pioneering spirit, to encourage people to question their old certitudes and habits. The world needs to implement new ways of improving the quality of human life. Clean technologies and renewable forms of energy are part of the solution, as they can simultaneously protect the environment and create jobs and profit for the industry.” Bertrand Piccard

Being an idea born in Switzerland, Solar Impulse creates an opportunity to deepen ties between Switzerland and the People’s Republic of China, which will celebrate the 65th anniversary of their bilateral relations in 2015.

With innovation and clean technology firmly rooted at the heart of its economic development strategy, it is no coincidence that China is one of the key partners working hand in hand with Solar Impulse for the success of this Round-The-World Solar Flight.

Furthermore, Solar Impulse is excited to announce its partnership with Sina, a Chinese online media company with over 100 million registered users worldwide.

“We believe that science and technology play a fundamental role for achieving the Chinese dream. Solar Impulse is a powerful symbol for change and as a leading online portal in China we hope to help inspire particularly our younger generation about what innovation and a pioneering spirit can make possible. Sina will commit considerable resources to help spread Solar Impulse’s message across a wide range of social media and digital platforms” says Ms. Zhao Tian, Deputy Editor-in-Chief from Sina.

And André Borschberg to continue: “By joining forces, Sina and Solar Impulse are given the opportunity to bring inspiration to millions of people with the scientific exploration of the Round the World Solar Flight.” Equally, I am especially thankful to the Chinese government enthusiasm to help bring solar impulse to China in order to demonstrate together the potential of clean technologies.

About Solar Impulse

Swiss pioneers Bertrand Piccard (Chairman) and André Borschberg (CEO) are the founders, pilots and life force behind Solar Impulse, the first aircraft able to fly day and night without fuel or polluting emissions – the aircraft with which they will attempt the first solar flight around the world in 2015. Solar Impulse is a unique adventure aiming to put emotion back into the heart of scientific exploration. Solar Impulse is also an airborne laboratory making way for innovative technological solutions capable of meeting today’s challenges head on. And it is a vision which drives each one of us to become a pioneer on a day-to-day basis.


This revolutionary single-seater aircraft made of carbon fiber has a 72 meter wingspan (larger than that of the Boeing 747-8I) for a weight of just 2,300 kg, equivalent to that of a car. The 17,000 solar cells built into the wing supply four electric motors (17.5 cv each) with renewable energy. During the day, the solar cells recharge lithium batteries weighing 633 kg (2077 lbs.) which allow the aircraft to fly at night and therefore to have virtually unlimited autonomy.


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Media contact:

Solar Impulse
Media Relations
Claudia Durgnat