Wed, Jun 13, 2012
Wednesday Departure For Ouarzazate Planned
After flying successfully from Switzerland to Madrid and then across the Straits of Gibralter to Morocco, Solar Impulse is set to continue its journey. In coordinated by the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN), Solar Impulse will fly over the future site of the first power plant of the Ouarzazate thermo-solar complex. The prototype should take-off Wednesday about noon local time from Rabat-Salé (Morocco) landing in Ouarzazate (Morocco) Thursday sometime shortly after midnight.
One week after its arrival in Morocco, Solar Impulse will fly to the South of the country experiencing a desert-like and mountainous climate for the first time. This is certainly the most difficult flight the airplane has ever experienced. Because of the arid and hot climate and its proximity to the Atlas Mountains, the air is expected to be very turbulent until late at night. In order to prepare the landing, André Borschberg, who will be piloting the round-trip flight from Rabat to Ouarzazate, took a trip to the Ouarzazate meteorological station in to learn more about local conditions first hand. That knowledge will complement the usual sophisticated weather modeling programs.
After takeoff, Borschberg will make a demonstration flight over Rabat. Two itineraries are currently being evaluated for the trip to Ouarzazate. The first should follow the coastline at an altitude of 28,000 feet to Agadir via Essaouira, avoiding the Atlas Mountains. The other route should lead the airplane in the direction of Casablanca and then to Marrakesh, landing just after midnight Thursday at Ouarzazate International Airport.
As every day since Solar Impulse's arrival in Morocco, official visits and events have been held at schools, universities, associations, and local companies as well as with political personalities.
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. (Image © Solar Impulse | Jean Revillard)
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