Last Thursday, experimental aircraft Solar Impulse took off from Switzerland in route to Rabat, the capital of Morocco, on what will be the first transcontinental flight ever attempted by a solar powered aircraft.
This single seater prototype has been in development for many years and hopes to prove the viability of solar energy as a primary power source for flight. With advancements in solar cell technology and new lighter weight batteries, Solar Impulse is able to collect enough energy to fly through the night.
However, the Solar Impulse in not without it’s limitations. Its lumber 63 meter wingspan makes an excellent platform for solar panels but leaves it exposed to air turbulence. It’s for this reason that pilot Andre Borschberg will try to avoid flying through clouds. In case weather conditions turn for the absolute worse, Borschberg also wears a parachute. However in a call with the Associated Press he jokingly said ,”When you take an umbrella it never rains.”
The Solar Impulse team has been invited to Morocco by King Mohammed VI to showcase their state of the art solar technology. Morocco is about begin construction of a massive solar energy plant that is part of a country-wide solar initiative to produce 2000 megawatts by year 2020.
[ Via Boston.com]