The Solar Impulse aircraft of Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg took off from Madrid early today for its final destination of Rabat-Salé in Morocco. The prototype is expected to land before midnight in Rabat.
The solar powered aircraft, which will soon be attempting a round-the-world flight has been using the flight as a test programme while at the same time participating in celebrations around the construction activities in the Ouarzazate region of what will be the world’s largest thermo-solar power plant. Of a capacity of 160 MW, the plant is part of Morocco’s energy plan whose goal is to build, by 2020, five solar parks with the capacity of 2000 megawatts, reducing CO2 emission of 3,7 million tons.
The Solar Impulse team said it supports this pioneering project which is in line with its own message and its philosophy of renewable energies.
The first leg of the trip from Switzerland to Spain (see our story here), was completed by pilot André Borschberg, now Bertrand Piccard takes over the controls to complete the mission to complete of flying for over 2,500km without a drop of fuel. The aircraft will take-off from the Madrid-Barajas airport and climb to an altitude of 11,000ft (3,600 metres) toward Seville. The HB-SIA will then cross the Gibraltar strait over the Mediterranean at an altitude of 26,000ft (8,500m) at around 16:00UTC entering Moroccan airspace via Tangier for Rabat. The landing in Rabat is expected at 10 pm.
Official events for youth and adult audiences, seminars and conferences organized by MASEN will take place throughout the week in Rabat. Although the flight has been confirmed, the flight director may still decide to postpone it or alter the route up to a short time before takeoff.
You can follow the aircraft in real time on www.solarimpulse.com.
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Landing took place at 11.30 pm Rabat time.