PHOTO CAPTION: Crew rolls out Solar Impulse for flight from Rabat to Ouarzazate.

Solar Impulse Continues Moroccon Journey

Solar-powered aircraft heads south across Atlas Mountains for site of future solar power plant near Ouarzazate, Morocco.

Published: 13-Jun-2012

Update at 11:15 US Central Time: Turbulence and strong headwinds between Casablanca and Marrakesh have forced flight to return to Rabat.

One week after its arrival in Rabat, Morocco, the ultra-lightweight Solar Impulse aircraft is scheduled to take flight south to Ouarzazate for the first time traveling over a desert-like and mountainous climate, according to the project’s leaders.

Andre Borschberg, pilot of the plane that runs on four electric motors, powered only by the Sun’s energy, said this next stage will be the most difficult flight the plane has yet encountered. Because of the arid and hot climate and the proximity to the Atlas Mountains, the atmospheric conditions are extremely turbulent.

In preparations for the next upcoming flight, scheduled to lift off tomorrow (June 13) at 8:00 a.m. local time, Borschberg undertook a reconnaissance mission to the Ouarzazate meteorological station to better understand the local meteorological conditions.


Solar Impulse pilots (left) André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard.

New York Times profiles adventurers behind the solar-powered Solar Impulse on its arrival in Paris for 2011 Air Show.

Solar Impulse pilot André Borschberg in simulator.

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Solar Impulse is powered by 12,000 solar cells and has wingspan of an Airbus A340 jetliner.

Flight between Europe and North Africa will take 48-hours and cover 2,500 km.


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