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7/2/2012 | 1 MINUTE READ

Solar Impulse aircraft headed from Morocco to Spain

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The composites-intensive, solar-powered Solar Impulse, after spending a month in Morocco, will soon fly from Rabat, Morocco, to Madrid, Spain, before returning to Switzerland.


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The Solar Impulse solar energy-powered aircraft is returning to Europe from Africa after a month-long stay in Morocco. Pilots Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg were expected to take off on July 3 from Rabat, Morocco, and land in Madrid-Barajas airport (Spain) July 4, but turbulence over the Strait of Gibralter forced the pilots to postpone their flight.

When it does fly again, the Solar Impulse HB-SIA, with Piccard at the controls, will take off from Rabat-Salé international airport in the direction of Tangier. It will ascend to an altitude of 4,000m/13,123 ft in preparation for the crossing of the Strait of Gibraltar on its way to the coast of Spain. The aircraft will then continue to climb to 8,500m/27,887 ft in the direction of Seville and Toledo, from where it will begin its descent towards Madrid. At Madrid-Barajas airport 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.

After a month in the Kingdom of Morocco, Solar Impulse is now preparing for its flight back to Europe. The highlight of the Moroccan journey was reaching Ouarzazate over the Atlas Mountains, a very difficult destination because of its specific meteorological conditions: frequent thunderstorms, strong headwinds, turbulence and thermals. After a first failure, this destination was successfully reached, and represents an important symbol of innovative technologies and solar energy.

“During the numerous encounters we had with the Moroccan people, even in remote areas, what struck us the most was their awareness of the Solar Impulse program, understanding of the convergence between our airplane and the Moroccan energy policy, and their recognition of solar energy’s great potential to improve their lives. If only it could be like this in our own country!” said Piccard, initiator of the Solar Impulse program.

Solar Impulse's progress can be followed at www.solarimpulse.com.

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