Solar Impulse is ready for the first ever solar powered intercontinental flight From Switzerland to Morocco. The trip will coincide with launch of construction of largest ever solar thermal plant in Morocco's southern Ouarzazate region.
|Solar Impulse will be welcomed by Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy|
The Swiss sun-powered aircraft Solar Impulse will on Thursday attempt its first intercontinental flight, travelling from Switzerland to Morocco without using a drop of fuel, organisers said. If successful it will be the longest journey to date for the craft after an inaugural flight to Paris and Brussels last year.
Organisers announced at the end of March that the 2,500 km (1,550 mile) trip will coincide with the launch of construction of the largest ever solar thermal plant in Morocco's southern Ouarzazate region.
The plane is scheduled to take off from a military airport at Payerne in Switzerland at 06:45 am (0445 GMT), piloted by Andre Borschberg, who is expected to land in Madrid at around 2:00 am on Friday for a stopover.
|Pilot and CEO of Solar Impulse Andre Borschberg Photograph by: Michel Euler|
Bertrand Piccard will pilot the second leg on to Rabat, scheduled to leave Madrid on Monday at the earliest, organisers said.
In Morocco, Solar Impulse will be welcomed by the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN).
The trip would be a rehearsal in the run-up to the plane's round-the-world flight planned for 2014.
The high-tech aircraft, which has the wingspan of a large airliner but weighs no more than a saloon car, made history in July 2010 as the first manned plane to fly around the clock on the sun's energy. It holds the record for the longest flight by a manned solar-powered aeroplane after staying aloft for 26 hours, 10 minutes and 19 seconds above Switzerland, also setting a record for altitude by flying at 9,235 metres (30,298 feet).
The Flight Route
The aircraft will took-off today (24 May 2012) from the Payerne airfield (Switzerland) crossing the border via the Jura in the direction of Pontarlier (France) ascending to an altitude of 3’600 meters. The aircraft will then fly over the Massif Central and proceed in the direction of Toulouse before crossing over the Pyrenees at an altitude of 8’500 meters. The prototype is expected to land in Madrid-Barajas airport sometime around 02:00AM (UTC+2) at Madrid-Barajas airport avoiding the peak of international air traffic. Bertrand Piccard will then take the lead and take-off some days thereafter crossing the Gibraltar strait and will land in Rabat in the evening.
Solar Impulse is expected to land in Rabat on Monday or Tuesday.
Follow the flight on line
During the Crossing Frontiers Flights, each flight can be tracked live on www.solarimpulse.com as well as via Twitter (for André or Bertrand), Facebook and via the Smartphone app “Solar Impulse Inventing the Future”, available free on Appstore and Androïd Market. The airplane’s position, altitude and speed will be shown live and cameras fitted inside the cockpit and at “Mission Control Center”, the mission’s nerve center, will allow you to experience the adventure live.