Wednesday February 8th, 2023
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It's Not a UFO, It's the Zero-Emission Solar Impulse 2 Heading for Cairo

Don't be alarmed on Wednesday morning – the strange flying object in the sky isn't a UFO, but the incredible Solar Impulse paying a visit to Cairo before ending its 35,000 km trip around the globe in Abu Dhabi.

Staff Writer

On Wednesday morning the skies of Egypt are expecting a visitor that may look to many like a UFO, but is actually the amazing zero-fuel aircraft Solar Impulse 2 on the final stretch of its 35,000 km journey to circumnavigate the globe.

Cairo will be the next stop for the Solar Impulse 2, which embarked from Abu Dhabi in March 2015. Currently in the skies, the Solar Impulse 2 departed from Seville en route to Cairo, the final stop before completing its mission back in Abu Dhabi.

Piloting the unique aircraft into Cairo is Andre Borschberg alongside Bertrand Piccard, who alternate flying duties between the different stages. It is expected to take 48 to 72 hours for the aircraft to reach Cairo, depending on weather conditions.To land in Cairo, the pilots must arrive early in the morning as they fear Egypt’s extreme daytime heat could damage the solar panels. According to comments made by flight director Raymond Clerc to the BBC, "The winds for landing are good from about 2 AM until 8 AM." If they miss this window, then the aircraft plans to remain in the air and attempt to land early Thursday.

According to the BBC, the Solar Impulse 2 will attempt to stage a photo shoot over the Pyramids. Seems like a good reason to choose Egypt as a stop, but Bertrand Piccard explains that the stop in Egypt is an important milestone for the project as, 17 years prior, the Breitling Orbiter 3 – first balloon to make a non-stop round-the-world flight –landed in Cairo. This is when the team felt inspired to challenge themselves to do the same trip but without burning any fuel. 

The Solar Impulse has 17,000 solar cells placed on a wingspan of 72 metres and travels 70 km/h. Come Wednesday morning, we expect a lot of people unaware of its arrival posting to social media that they saw a UFO. Don’t be alarmed – this flying object isn’t something to fear, but rather cheer, as Egyptians get to witness a zero-emission aircraft travelling its skies.

If you can't wait until Wednesday, then you can always watch the live stream of the Solar Impulse 2 on its way. Photos retrieved from Solar Impulse official website.