Solar Impulse takes off on first intercontinental flight

May 24, 2012
Pilot Andre Borschberg walks to the Swiss sun-powered aircraft Solar Impulse before takeoff in Payerne. The Swiss sun-powered aircraft Solar Impulse took off for Morocco on its first intercontinental flight attempt without using a drop of fuel.

The Swiss sun-powered aircraft Solar Impulse on Thursday took off for Morocco on its first intercontinental flight attempt without using a drop of fuel.

Pilot Andre Borschberg successfully launched the plane from an airfield in Payerne in western Switzerland at around 8:30am (0630 GMT), bound for Rabat via Madrid, after a two-hour delay due to foggy conditions.

If successful the 2,500-kilometre (1,550-mile) journey would be the longest to date for the craft after an inaugural flight to Paris and Brussels last year.

The high-tech aircraft, which has the of a large but weighs no more than a saloon car, is fitted with 12,000 feeding four electric engines.

Borschberg was expected to land at Madrid's Barajas airport at about 1:00 am on Friday for a three-day technical stopover, organisers said.

Checks would be carried out and depending on the second pilot Bertrand Piccard would depart for Rabat on Monday.

The trip is intended as a rehearsal in the run-up to the plane's round-the-world flight planned for 2014.

The aircraft 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).

Explore further: Team develop 'autotune' software to make it quicker, easier and cheaper to model energy use of buildings

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Swiss solar-powered aircraft lands in Brussels

May 13, 2011

Pioneering Swiss solar-powered aircraft Solar Impulse landed in Brussels on Friday after completing its first international flight, 13 hours after it took off from Switzerland.

Recommended for you

Paraffins to cut energy consumption in homes

10 hours ago

Thermal energy storage is a common strategy in energy production systems in which the period of production does not coincide with that of consumption. This happens with the production of hot water by means ...

Rubber technology important in reducing CO2 emissions

13 hours ago

Despite numerous measures taken by manufacturers, the worldwide level of CO2 car emissions is still increasing at an alarming rate. The automotive sector is working hard to develop lightweight constructions, ...

EnGo public charging station serves university students

17 hours ago

Kinetic tiles and solar panels are ready to power up mobile devices for people on the go thanks to something called the EnGo charging station. The technology involves a combination of kinetic tiles and solar ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

CapitalismPrevails
1 / 5 (1) May 24, 2012
Perhaps planes like this could provide wider cell phone reception or help UAVs stay longer in flight.