Sixteen months after it started, the fuel-free Solar Impulse 2 airplane took off before dawn Monday for what’s expected to be the second-last leg of its round-the-world journey, heading from Spain to Egypt for a pyramid photo op and a Cairo landing.
Solar Impulse co-founder Andre Borschberg was at the controls in the solar-powered plane’s solo cockpit for what could be his last time during the globe-girdling odyssey.
“The unknown is always there,” he said before takeoff. “So I’m crossing my fingers before crossing the Mediterranean Sea.”
The ultra-lightweight plane rose up from Seville International Airport at 6:22 a.m. local time (9:22 p.m. PT Sunday). The Solar Impulse team said Borschberg’s trip is scheduled to take about 50 hours. He’s on track to cross through the airspace of seven countries during the flight.