Solar Impulse Plane Takes It’s First Transcontinental Flight
We are definitely advancing in how we travel.
An experimental solar-powered airplane took off from Switzerland on its first transcontinental flight Thursday, aiming to reach North Africa next week. The project began in 2003 and is estimated to cost about $100 million over 10 years.
Andre Borschberg, the pilot of the plane, planned to take the jumbo jet-size Solar Impulse plane on its first leg to Madrid, Spain, by Friday. His colleague Bertrand Piccard will take the helm of the aircraft for the second stretch of its 2,500-kilometer (1,554-mile) journey to the Moroccan capital Rabat.
It was delayed for two hours due to the fog on the runway, demonstrating how susceptible the prototype single-seater aircraft is to adverse weather.
“We can’t fly into clouds because it was not designed for that,” Borschberg said as he piloted the lumbering plane with its 63-meter (207-foot) wingspan toward the eastern French city of Lyon at a cruising speed of just 70 kilometers an hour (43.5 mph).
The mission is described as the final dress rehearsal for a round-the-world flight with a new and improved aircraft in 2014. That trip will include stops in the United States, said Borschberg.
The team that are involved in this flight has been invited to Morocco by the country’s King Mohammed VI to showcase the cutting edge of solar technology. Morocco is beginning construction on a massive solar energy plant at Ouarzazate. The plant will form part of a country-wide solar energy grid with a capacity of 2000 megawatts by 2020.
It looks like we have something to look out for when it comes to the advance in technology.