Tue, Jul 10, 2012
Completes First Over-Water Flight For The Solar-Powered Airplane
After a flight that was particularly challenging from a tactical standpoint, the Solar Impulse aircraft landed at Madrid-Barajas International airport in the early-morning hours Saturday. The flight completed the airplanes' first over-water flight, which was considered something of a dress-rehearsal for an around-the-world attempt planned for 2014.
Bertrand Piccard took off Friday morning from Rabat-Salé International airport in Morocco After flying towards Tangier and over the Strait of Gibraltar, the solar aircraft steered in the direction of Seville. Because of strong crosswinds over the Iberian Peninsula, the pilot found a holding area west of Seville where he waited for the right moment to continue his journey towards Toledo. After a flight lasting a total of 17 hours, Piccard safely landed the prototype at 0119 local time (UTC+2) in Spain’s capital city of Madrid.
“Bertrand did a wonderful flight and the aircraft's technology has once again proven its reliability and its energy savings efficiency. This flight has taught us even more about the aircraft allowing us to fly through winds superior to the speed of the airplane." said André Borschberg, Co-founder and CEO of Solar Impulse.
The destination of the Kingdom of Morocco the 2012 Crossing Frontiers mission flights had been chosen to support Morocco’s commitment in solar energy and other renewables, through the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (Masen). Spain has a similar energy profile to that of its neighbor across the Strait. Just like Morocco, Spain has demonstrated its pioneering spirit in regards to renewable energy sources, which is perfectly in line with Solar Impulse’s message.
“I hope that Europe will learn from Morocco’s example. It’s precisely during times of global crisis that there needs to be an investment in renewable energies and energy savings, providing us with what’s necessary to sustain employment, purchasing power and a positive trade balance. Thank you Morocco for giving us the good example by building the world’s largest solar power plant.” said Bertrand Piccard,Initiator of the Solar Impulse program as the Ground Crew opened the aircraft canopy.
A few days of official events will be organized by the Spanish authorities as well as by Partners like Omega, Schindler Altran and Bayer MaterialScience to honor Solar Impulse’s last stop before its return to Switzerland.
(Image courtesy Solar Impulse)
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