Wed, Jul 04, 2012
Flight Back To Europe Delayed Indefinitely
The Solar Impulse team has indefinitely delayed the aircraft's return flight over the Strait of Gibraltar due to unexpected strong high and middle altitude winds.
Solar impulse’s HB-SIA prototype, piloted by Bertrand Piccard, was scheduled to depart from Rabat-Salé International airport (Morocco) Tuesday, reconnecting Africa to Europe. The Flight Director made this decision after a final debriefing session in Payerne (Switzerland) with the Solar Impulse Mission team. The intercontinental leg of the Africa to Europe journey has been deferred due to an unexpected degradation in the meteorological conditions. The medium and high altitude winds have unexpectedly shifted, triggering the Mission team to revise their strategy.
The team said that, given HB-SIA’s design and its prototype status, wind speed and turbulence cannot exceed a predefined safety limit. The Flight Director and his team have come to the conclusion that it is safer to wait for more favorable weather conditions and have therefore postponed the Rabat to Madrid flight until further notice.
Solar Impulse will communicate via its website on any new developments on this leg of the flight.
Solar Impulse flew to Morocco at the request of that country's King to participate in the groundbreaking for a massive solar-thermal power plant. The airplane and its team made numerous appearances throughout the country. The trip to Morocco was the first over-water flight for the aircraft, which the team hopes to fly around the world in 2014.
(Image provided by Solar Impulse)
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