Solar-Powered Plane Takes Off
Experimental plane attempts transcontinental flight.
Web2Carz Senior Writer
Published: May 25th, 2012
ndre Borschberg took off on Thursday from Switzerland in an experiemental solar-powered airplane the size of a jumbo jet. He hopes to land in Madrid today before handing the controls to Bertrand Piccard who will be heading off to Morocco.
Thursday’s takeoff was delayed for two hours because the plane is not designed to fly into clouds. The plane has a wingspan of just over 200 feet and cruises at a speed of just 43.5 mph.
The true test of the plane will be the tricky stretch over the Pyrenees Mountains separating France and Spain. There is a parachute inside the cabin in case something goes wrong, like if the plane runs out of sun or something.
Morocco is the destination because that country is set to construct an enormous solar energy plant that will hopefully produce 2000 megawatts of power by 2020.
If this flight is successful an improved solar aircraft will attempt an around-the-world flight in 2014.
The solar plane has been in the works since 2003 and is estimated to have cost $100 million.