Solar Impulse embarks on first intercontinental flight

The Swiss sun-powered aircraft Solar Impulse has taken off from Payerne airbase on its first intercontinental flight. The 48-hour test flight to Morocco is being undertaken without fuel.

The sun-powered aircraft Solar Impulse at its take-off in Payerne.

The sun-powered aircraft Solar Impulse at its take-off in Payerne. Bild: Keystone

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Fog delayed the plane's take-off by around 40 minutes. This was a safety precaution, according to the project initiator, Bertrand Piccard. The experimental aircraft is heading in the direction of southern France and is expected to arrive in the Spanish capital, Madrid early on Friday morning. In Madrid the project's co-initiator, AndrÈ Borschberg, will take over the controls and fly the plane to its end destination, Rabat. The flight is seen as a key test for Solar Impulse's planned circumnavigation of the world in 2014. In Morocco, the team will be received by King Mohammed VI. The prototype has a wingspan of 63.4 metres and thanks to its carbon fibre body weighs just 1,600 kilos. Around 12,000 photovoltaic cells on the upper wing surface provide the solar energy to power the plane. (lub/sda)

Erstellt: 24.05.2012, 13:23 Uhr

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