Solar Powered Aircraft Completes Initial Leg of the First Intercontinental Flight successfully

May 28, 2012, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

As the whole world eagerly looked on, the sunlight powered aircraft Solar Impulse successfully completed the first leg of its flight across the continents without the help of conventional aircraft fuel, instead depending solely upon solar energy.

It was on Saturday that the Swiss aircraft has taken off from Payerne in Switzerland for its intercontinental flight to reach Morocco. As per the early decided schedule it has landed in Madrid on Friday for a three day technical stopover.

Solar Impulse is expected to complete a 1550 mile long flight when it successfully completes the second leg to reach Moroccan capital of Rabat.

That will be the longest flight for the aircraft till date which has earlier hit headlines last year for its first international flight from Switzerland to Brussels.

Pilot Andre Borschberg who took the solar powered aircraft during the 17 hour long first leg of the flight will carry over that duty to his colleague Bertrand Piccard, when the flight starts its second leg.

The jumbo-jet sized plane has a wide wingspan which measures more than 200 feet, where it houses over 12,000 solar panels that powers the flight.

The solar panels convert solar energy into electricity during day to propel the aircraft and then charge the lithium polymer batteries attached with the plane as a source of energy for the night.

Solar Impulse is not ready to stop its expedition anytime soon, as it is preparing for a round-the-world tour in 2014.

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