An experimental solar-powered airplane is headed from Europe toward the African continent in a historic flight.
Noted Swiss adventurer Bertrand Piccard took off from Madrid, Spain early Tuesday morning aboard the Solar Impulse, on a 2,500 kilometer trip to Morocco. If successful it will be the first-ever intercontinental flight of a solar-powered airplane. Piccard’s compatriot, Andre Borschberg, flew the aircraft late last month from Switzerland to Madrid.
The Solar Impulse’s huge 63-meter wingspan is covered by 12,000 solar cells, allowing the single-pilot craft to fly without a drop of fuel. Despite its size the plane weighs only about as much as an average family car.
The airplane’s journey from Madrid to Morocco is a dress rehearsal for a round-the-world flight scheduled in 2014.
The craft made history in 2010 as the first manned plane to fly around the clock on the sun’s energy.