Destination Morocco: Solar Impulse departs for its first intercontinental flight

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 should take flight 24 May 2012 at 06:45AM (UTC+2) from Payerne (Switzerland) with final destination Rabat (Morocco). The prototype will land in Madrid (Spain) for a technical layover, as well as to change pilots, around 02:00AM (UTC+2).
The Solar Impulse team will participate in MASENs commencement of construction activities in the Ouarzazate region of what will be the worlds largest thermo-solar power plant. Of a capacity of 160 MW, the 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.

André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard will alternately pilot the solar airplane to complete the challenge without precedents of flying for over 2500km without a drop of fuel. The first leg of the flight will be completed by André Borschberg. The aircraft will take-off tomorrow 24 May 2012 from the Payerne airfield (Switzerland) crossing the border via the Jura in the direction of Pontarlier (France) ascending to an altitude of 3600 meters. The aircraft will then fly over the Massif Central and proceed in the direction of Toulouse before crossing over the Pyrenees at an altitude of 8500 meters. The prototype is expected to land in Madrid-Barajas airport sometime around 02:00AM (UTC+2) at Madrid-Barajas airport avoiding the peak of international air traffic. Bertrand Piccard will then take the lead and take-off some days thereafter crossing the Gibraltar strait and will land in Rabat in the evening.

This flight will act as a final dress rehearsal for the 2014 round-the-world flight. It will also prepare the Solar Impulse team to face challenges of regular air traffic patterns, cooperation with international airports and logistic maintenance issues.

Although the flight has been confirmed, the Flight Director may still decide to postpone it or alter the route up to a short time before takeoff. Keep up to date with the latest news on www.solarimpulse.com.

Track the Crossing Frontiers Flights 2012 on the Internet and via the Solar Impulse app.

During the Crossing Frontiers Flights, each flight can be tracked live onwww.solarimpulse.com as well as viaTwitter (forAndré or Bertrand),Facebook and via the Smartphone app Solar Impulse Inventing the Future, available free on Appstore and Androïd Market. The airplanes position, altitude and speed will be shown live and cameras fitted inside the cockpit and at Mission Control Center, the missions nerve center, will allow you to experience the adventure live.
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