Thursday, June 21, 2012
Solar plane makes attempt in Morocco flight
RABAT, Morocco (AP) — An experimental solar plane hoping to one day fly around the world tried again Thursday to fly over Morocco's Atlas Mountains after being thwarted a week ago by high winds.
The delicate Solar Impulse has the immense wing span of a commercial jet but is only the weight of a family car, making it quite vulnerable to bad weather. It took off in the morning from the capital Rabat and hopes to reach the city of Ouarzazate, 280 miles (465 kilometers) away by late evening, where it will fly over the site of Morocco's proposed solar power plant.
Pilot Andre Borschberg attempted the same flight on June 14 but had to turn back after unexpectedly strong winds buffeted the slow-moving plane and sent it reeling backwards. The plane has relatively weak battery-powered turboprop engines that are recharged by the 12,000 photovoltaic cells covering its body. It is the only solar powered craft that can fly day and night.
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