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17 - 24 July: Madrid-Toulouse-Payerne

Home again!

On the evening of 24 July, the solar plane landed safely in Payerne, the starting point of its odyssey two months earlier on 24 May. With the final stage punctuated with a stopover in Toulouse, Solar Impulse successfully completed the world's first intercontinental adventure using only solar energy.

At 3.33 a.m. (UTC) on 17 July, Bertrand Piccard, the project founder and pilot, took off aboard HB-SIA. Setting an initial course for the Atlantic Ocean, he crossed the Pyrenees towards Biarritz and France before arriving in Toulouse from the west, landing at 9.46 p.m. (UTC+2).

Once again, the stopover in Toulouse offered Altran and its guests the chance to welcome the plane and meet the Solar Impulse team. The landing at the Toulouse-Francazal aerodrome as night was falling in front of the small group of assembled guests will remain etched in the memories of the participants. Employees and guests alike took full advantage of this opportunity to learn more about the project.

At 7.01 a.m. (UTC+2) on 24 July, the plane made its final take-off of the 2012 mission. Bertrand Piccard flew over southern Toulouse before crossing the Massif Central directly above the Puy-de-Dôme, finally reaching his beloved Switzerland after a flight lasting 11 hours 30 minutes. At 6.30 p.m. (UTC), he landed at the aerodrome in Payerne in front of a crowd of spectators and to the sound of Alpine horns. A return home much appreciated by the entire team!

The mission always had the air of a dress rehearsal: for the very last time before the round-the-world trip, the Solar Impulse team had the opportunity to test all the parameters which ensure a successful flight. The intercontinental stage might be complete, but the Solar/Altran adventure is far from over.

Aiming for the impossible is in the very nature of our team. Bertrand Piccard