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Emirati Solar Impulse team member: An exhilarating week for us all

2015-07-05 06:45:19

An exhilarating week has just passed, one that has caused many emotions to flow among team members.

Solar Impulse 2 took off on Monday in an unorthodox fashion. It was a very quiet night with no media presence. The reason was to avoid trauma for the team if we had to cancel five minutes before take-off. We did not want to disappoint the public, media or our stakeholders.

 

Emirati Solar Impulse team member: An exhilarating week for us all
Hasan Al Redaini, right, is travelling with the Solar Impulse team to assist in solar-energy lectures and demonstrations in each of the 12 countries the team is visiting.
 

The first 10 hours were very tense and difficult because we had two electrical systems not working properly that needed to be solved. The team was worried, as there were a lot of internal rumours circulating about having to return to Nagoya.

After a few hours of flying, pilots Andre Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard decided that the flight should continue as the plane was functioning well.

Andre assured us after a few tests that there was no problem with the aeroplane’s manoeuvrability and once we had reached the point of no return, we revealed the take-off to the world.

After passing this point, the team started to move in batches to Hawaii. Everyone was delighted to finally move on to the next chapter of the journey.

The flight was intense. We were all following Andre’s progress through the live feed provided by our website. All prayers went to Andre, wishing him a safe and successful five-day journey, achieving what has never done before.

What is truly remarkable is that before landing in Hawaii, Andre had already achieved world records in distance and duration. These aren’t just related to renewable energies, they are also in the domain of aviation.

Finally, the moment of truth. The landing in Hawaii was getting closer. The team’s anticipation of the landing was reaching heights that I haven’t seen before. I could say the same about my own mood.

And at 5.55am local time on Friday, Solar Impulse realised this moment of truth and proved to the world that renewable energies and clean technologies are within our reach.

The joy of the team was unprecedented. It wasn’t just a question of a five-day flight for us, it has been a struggle since trying to find a window to China, diverting to Nagoya and cancelling flights at the last minute.

Andre was smiling and happy as he left the cockpit, sending his regards to every member of the team and following up with interviews right after the flight. I must say he gained utmost respect from everyone for doing this right after the flight.

His charismatic personality could not go overlooked. I am proud that I have worked for his team and supported it in creating this historic flight.

Hasan Al Redaini, 25, works for group communications at Mubadala. He is travelling with the Solar Impulse team to assist in solar-energy lectures and demonstrations in each of the 12 countries the team is visiting.