The Swiss solar-powered aircraft, Solar Impulse, has successfully completed the first step of its planned flight from Switzerland to Madrid. The Solar Impulse took off Thursday from Payerne, Switzerland and on Friday, without using a single drop of fuel, the plane finished its first leg of intercontinental flight in Madrid. The second leg toward Morocco was planned to be continued by another pilot after a three day stop over.
If the solar plane successfully complete the 1,550-mile journey then it will be the longest journey for the craft till date. Last year, it completed the first international flight from Switzerland to Brussels.
Pilot Andre Borschberg has operated the first leg of the trip for the Solar Impulse. It is a slender shape aircraft which weighs similar to a midsize car but spreads like a jumbo jet. Andre Borschberg’s colleague Bertrand Piccard will operate the second leg of the flight to the Moroccan capital Rabat.
Solar Impulse website said, “the flight went very well and thanks to the team of meteorologists, everything went according to the plan: it was extraordinary.” Flight pilot Andre Borschberg said,“It was incredible to fly alongside the barrier of clouds during most of the flight and not need to hesitate to fly above them. This confirms our confidence in the capacity of solar energy even further.” The flight duration for the first half was 17 hours, 3 minutes, and 50 seconds. The average ground speed was 89 km/h or 55.3 mph.
Source: Solar Impulse