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The future of air travel is here — and it doesn’t include any jet fuel. On Sunday, the solar-powered aircraft Solar Impulse 2 departed Cairo, Egypt for Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, where it ended its around-the-world flight attempt — using only power from the sun.

Two pilots, Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg, took turns flying the aircraft on each of its 17 legs (the first of which was in March of 2015), and logged about 22,000 miles total on their trip. The aircraft itself is incredibly light — it only weighs as much as a typical SUV but its wingspan is as long as a Boeing 747. It was a record-setting flight in many regards — it’s the first aircraft to complete a transatlantic flight (New York to Seville, Spain) without using any fuel, as well as the aircraft to complete the longest solo flight without fuel — traveling for five days and five nights (from Japan to Hawaii) using only solar energy.

The two pilots hope that their around-the-world, solar-powered flight shows the world that the future of aviation is indeed bright and it will be entirely possible (one day) to travel across the world without using thousands of gallons of jet fuel to do so.

Featured image courtesy of Solar Impulse.


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