News24

Solar-powered plane lands in Spain

2012-07-07 14:36

Madrid - A solar-powered plane landed in Spain on Saturday on its way back home after breaking a record with the first intercontinental flight by an aircraft run on the sun's energy, organisers said.

Swiss adventurer Bertrand Piccard, 54, piloted the experimental plane Solar Impulse on the 17-hour flight from Rabat in Morocco and landed at Madrid's main airport overnight early on Saturday, his team said in a statement.

The Solar Impulse, which is made of carbon fibre and flies without fuel, is on its way back to Switzerland after last month flying from Spain to Morocco, the first time a solar-powered aircraft has crossed continents.

The flights are a rehearsal for an attempted round-the-world trip in 2014 by an updated version of the plane.

The 900km Morocco to Spain leg was "a particularly tactically challenging flight" at an average of 60km/h, with the plane hitting strong crosswinds, the team said in a statement.

"The aircraft's technology has once again proven its reliability and its energy-saving efficiency," Solar Impulse co-founder Andre Borschberg said in the statement.

"This flight has taught us even more about the aircraft, allowing us to fly through winds superior to the speed of the airplane."

The statement said the plane would stay in Spain for "a few days" of official and sponsorship events before heading for Switzerland.

Comments
  • Brenda Mkhalane - 2012-07-07 17:39

    This is amazing...GO GREEN

  • Arp Liebenberg - 2012-07-07 17:53

    The designer of the plane, is he white?

      antin.herinck - 2012-07-08 01:41

      Arp, under ANC rule, I have become as "racist" (actually more: anti-ANC) as they come. But in this case, please come off it. This is just too fantastic a feat to spoil it with politics. Let's just marvel -for a moment, at what these Swiss guys are doing.

  • Ouklip - 2012-07-07 21:28

    This illustrates the position of solar power development. This plane has the wingspan of a B747 and cannot carry anything else except the crew. Solar power is about 15 to 20 years before it can get close in replacing carbon fuels.

      antin.herinck - 2012-07-08 01:49

      You seem to be confused; on the one hand you say the craft can "only carry its crew" -as if its not a big deal. But then you make an outrageous statement as to the possibilities of this technology. So you reckon that in "15 to 20 years" we have solar power craft taking off at ORT? And by then we will be "close" to moving hundreds of people by such a craft, over ten thousand miles? You into science fiction much?

  • antin.herinck - 2012-07-08 01:34

    Amazing! What a feat! What an amazing enterprise and what a designing genius, what splendid application of technology. Wow!

  • arthur.halse - 2012-07-08 08:01

    Technology at its best. Well done.

  • cindy.burns.35 - 2012-07-09 12:37

    Awesome strides!

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