May 25, 2012
By: Eyder Peralta, npr
Solar Impulse takes off on first intercontinental flight
Photo credit: solar impulse
The Solar Impulse, a solar-powered airplane with the wing-span of a jumbo jet, took off from Switzerland today on its first attempt to complete a transcontinental flight.
The AP reports:
"Fog on the runaway at its home base in Payerne, Switzerland, delayed the take off by two hours, demonstrating how susceptible the prototype single-seater aircraft is to adverse weather.
"'We can't fly into clouds because it was not designed for that,' Borschberg said as he piloted the lumbering plane with its 63-meter (207-foot) wingspan toward the eastern French city of Lyon at a cruising speed of just 70 kilometers an hour (43.5 mph)."
After a 20-hour flight, the plane will land in Madrid, change pilots and continue on to the Moroccan capital of Rabat. [Read More]