Steve Eggleston Writes

Flight Soars from Europe to Africa

Filed Under: Green and Eco, News, Science

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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.

Thanks to VOANews for this story