Sun Powered Swiss Aircraft Attempts To Fly From Switzerland To Morocco In A 48 Hour Journey

The sun powered airplane made its inaugural flight to Paris and Brussels in 2011.

Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg owners of the aircraft, Solar Impulse, will attempt, for the first time to fly over 2,500 km (1,550 miles) without using a drop of fuel, finally landing in Morocco, according to project organizer.

Piccard and Borschberg will take turns to pilot the plane during the 48-hour journey, with a stopover near Madrid expected for the swap.

The trip, expected for May or June, would be a rehearsal in the run-up to the plane’s round-the-world flight planned for 2014.

It holds a record for the longest flight by a manned solar-powered airplane after staying aloft for 26 hours, 10 minutes and 19 seconds above Switzerland, also setting a record for altitude by flying at 9,235 meters (30,298 feet).

It has since flown several times, notably between the Geneva and Zurich airports, as well as to Paris and Brussels.

“Flying as far as this, powered only by solar energy will be excellent training for the round-the-world trip,” said Borschberg, co-founder and chief executive of Solar Impulse.

The high-tech aircraft, which has the wingspan of a large airliner but weighs no more than a saloon car, made history in July 2010 as the first manned plane to fly around the clock on the sun’s energy.

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