Solar plane flies from Europe to Africa

A solar powered Swiss plane called the Solar Impulse is attempting to fly between two continents, Europe and Africa. The trip is from Payerne, Switzerland to Rabat, Morocco with a stop in Madrid, Spain. The total flying distance is about 2,500 km (1,550 mile). Solar Impulse has already reached Madrid and is waiting for better weather to head out to Rabat. It took about 17 hours to fly from Payerne to Madrid. The plane does not use fuel, and has about 12,000 solar cells that collect energy from the sun. The plane weighs as much as a mid-sized car and has a wingspan of a passenger jet. It is flown by one pilot.

Two years ago, Solar Impulse became the first solar plane to fly through the night, and two years from now, the plan is for the plane to fly around the world.

You can watch a video of the flight to Madrid:


Did You Know?

The pilot of the Solar Impulse from Madrid to Rabat is Bertrand Piccard, the grandson of Auguste Piccard (who designed a balloon and went up thousands of feet into the sky). He is also the son of Jacques Piccard (who designed an underwater vehicle and went down thousands of feet into the ocean).

Did You Know?

Jacques Piccard and another explorer were the first people to make a trip to the deepest point on Earth called the Marianas Trench in 1960. The next person to make this trip was James Cameron earlier this year.