Crossing Frontiers: Solar Impulse Successfully Lands in Rabat

Under the High Patronage of King Mohammed VI and upon invitation of the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (Masen), the Solar Impulse aircraft of Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg has completed its flight to Morocco. The prototype landed successfully in Rabat-Salé airport at 11:30PM (UTC+1) this evening. This is a symbolic victory for Solar Impulse as it is the first time the HB-SIA lands on another continent and the first time Bertrand Piccard has piloted during a mission flight.
After a flight lasting a total of 19 hours 08 min and 830 km, Bertrand Piccard safely landed the solar aircraft in Rabat-Salé international airport, Kingdom of Morocco. The Solar Impulse airplane took-off this morning at 05h22 AM (UTC+2) from Madrid-Barajas airport in Spain following the previously scheduled flight plan over the Gibraltar Strait and the Mediterranean. The aircraft flew in the direction of the city of Seville towards the Strait of Gibraltar, flying over the Mediterranean Sea at an altitude of 6'893 meters and finally arriving in Rabat, Morocco, landing on Runway RW03 at 11:30PM (UTC+1).

Aside from technical and political reasons behind the decision to fly to Morocco, simply the flight over the Gibraltar straight was a magical moment and represents one of the highlight of my carrier of aeronaut. Said joyfully Bertrand Piccard as he set his feet on the runway.

To raise awareness about solar energys potential, the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (Masen), which is responsible for Moroccos solar energy plan, will host the Solar Impulse team over a week before possibly heading, weather permitting, to Ouarzazate city where the first solar complex is being developed. We are delighted to host this world premiere in Morocco and are very pleased with the presence of the overall Solar Impulse impressive team. We are also very thankful to each partner that could make this possible said Masens President, Mr. Mustapha Bakkoury.

Of a capacity reaching 160 MW, the thermo-solar plant is part of Moroccos energy plan whose goal is to build, by 2020, five solar parks with the capacity of 2000 megawatts, reducing CO2 emission of 3,7 million tons. Solar Impulse supports this pioneering project which is in line with its own message and its philosophy of renewable energies.

This flight marks a new stage in the history of the project because we have reached another continent. Furthermore, after almost 20 hours of flight, we landed with a full set of batteries. This is extraordinary as it represents an increase in confidence in new technologies. Said André Borschberg as the Solar Impulse HB-SIA landed on the runway.

Official events for youth and adult audiences, seminars and conferences organized by MASEN will take place throughout the week in Rabat. Furthermore, photos and videos of the event will be posted daily on our website and the blog will be updated regularly.

Thanks to the satellite communication system developed by Solar Impulses National Telecom Partner , Swisscom, Flight Director Raymond Clerc and his team were able to support the pilot throughout the flight from the Mission Control Center in Payerne.
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