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Pilot Bertrand Piccard relayed these words to journalists before Solar Impulse 2 took off under his control from Cairo shortly after midnight on Sunday on the final leg of its round-the-world journey. Prince Albert gave the green light from Mission Control in Monaco with the words: “You are released to proceed.”
The solar-powered aircraft had been due to leave Egypt earlier in the week, but its departure was held up due to a combination of strong winds and a bout of ill-health that hit Piccard. The project’s other pilot, André Borschberg, earlier set a world record for the longest uninterrupted journey in aviation history in a leg that took 118 hours.
The aircraft is all the more remarkable because it usually flies at 30 mph, a speed that doubles when its photo-electric cells are exposed to full sunlight.
Before take-off, Piccard said: “It’s a very, very hot region … it’s going to be an exhausting flight.” A psychiatrist by profession, Piccard made the first non-stop navigation of the globe in a hot air balloon in 1999.
With a flight time expected of 48 hours, Solar Impulse is due to return to Al Bateen Executive Airport in Abu Dhabi Monday.
Visitors to the 2021 Monaco Yacht Show will discover a new exhibition area dedicated to design and innovative solutions in superyachting: the Yacht Design and Innovation Hub.
“Cycling Sunday”, the one-day event that has proved so successful in previous years, has returned to Monaco, encouraging people to get out of their cars and onto their bicycles.
Monaco and Luxembourg have signed a cooperation agreement that will strengthen efforts in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing.
Monaco residents will need to hold a health pass to access restaurants and bars from late August as the government responds to a “fourth wave” of the Covid epidemic.