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Sunny side up as Solar Impulse 2 closes in on first fuel-free round-the-world flight

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By Euronews
Sunny side up as Solar Impulse 2 closes in on first fuel-free round-the-world flight

<p>The first ever fuel-free round-the-world flight is coming close to completion.</p> <p><a href="http://www.solarimpulse.com/adventure">Solar Impulse 2</a>, a plane powered purely by the sun’s energy, is on the penultimate leg of its 16-month long journey.</p> <p>The 16th leg – of more than 50 hours – takes it over the Mediterranean Sea, crossing through the airspace of Tunisia, Algeria, Malta, Italy and Greece before ending in Egypt.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en-gb"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Flying over <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GemaSolar?src=hash">#GemaSolar</a>- the 1st <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/solar?src=hash">#solar</a> airplane meets the 1st solar plant, producing energy day and night <a href="https://twitter.com/Masdar"><code>Masdar</a> <a href="https://t.co/G9S0ZmgjDI">pic.twitter.com/G9S0ZmgjDI</a></p>&mdash; André Borschberg (</code>andreborschberg) <a href="https://twitter.com/andreborschberg/status/752378208184627200">11 July 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p>It is being flown in turns by two Swiss pilots Andre Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard.</p> <p>Borschberg, who is flying this part from Seville in Spain to Cairo, was reflective before take-off, but said now is no time to get complacent: “It’s my last flight for this round the world epic so I start to think about it. Of course I’m happy that we get close to the end. Still very prudent, knowing that it is not done yet so I have to stay really focused and I guess it’s the same for the team.”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-video" data-lang="en-gb"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><span class="caps">BREAKING</span> <a href="https://twitter.com/andreborschberg"><code>andreborschberg</a> has taken off for his last flight, from <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Seville?src=hash">#Seville</a> to <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Cairo?src=hash">#Cairo</a>, & will fly for <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/futureisclean?src=hash">#futureisclean</a>! <a href="https://t.co/MebE8z5gJp">pic.twitter.com/MebE8z5gJp</a></p>&mdash; SOLAR IMPULSE (</code>solarimpulse) <a href="https://twitter.com/solarimpulse/status/752357404248080384">11 July 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p>Borschberg was in the cockpit for <a href="http://www.euronews.com/2016/04/24/solar-impulse-successfully-crosses-pacific-ocean/">the Pacific Ocean crossing</a>, from Nagoya, Japan to Hawaii, which took 118 hours.</p> <p>Piccard did the 71-hour flight over the Atlantic Ocean from New York. The original destination was Paris but bad weather meant <a href="http://www.euronews.com/nocomment/2016/06/23/solar-impulse-lands-in-spain-after-atlantic-crossing/">Solar Impulse 2 had to set down in Seville</a>.</p> <p>The single seater plane has over 17,000 solar cells built in to its carbon-fibre wings, which have a span bigger than that of a Boeing 747. They charge batteries that drive electric motors. The aircraft – which weighs about the same as a car – has a cruising speed of around 70 kilometres an hour (43 mph).</p> <p>From Cairo it will head on to Abu-Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates, the starting point of the journey in March 2015.</p>