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The record-breaking zero-fuel plane, Solar Impulse 2, has arrived at Dübendorf near Zurich inside a 747, completing its trip back home to Switzerland where it was first conceived, a number of Swiss news sources have reported.
The 100 percent solar powered plane, piloted by Bertrand Piccard, landed in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates in July, having completed a full circuit of the globe without the use of fossil fuels. The aircraft’s 17-leg journey involved 23 days of flying, covering a distance of 43,041 kilometres, in an epic voyage whose command centre was in Monaco.
In an interview with House of Switzerland, one of the two pilots, Bertrand Picard, praised Switzerland for its network of small companies that helped them build the aircraft.
“This is where Switzerland is so good,” Picard told lenews.ch. He added that the nation’s social harmony was also critical. “You cannot build an experimental plane if people go on strike or if the roads are blocked because of striking drivers,” he said. In the middle of the project they had to bring parts from England. Each time they were delayed by strikes in France. He said Switzerland’s social harmony has enormous value.
While no final decision has been taken over the future of the experimental aircraft, it may end its days in a museum, most likely in Switzerland.
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