June 28, 2012
Solar Impulse Plans Return To Rabat And Journey Home
Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Now that the Solar Impulse team of pilot Andre Borschberg and project coordinator Bertrand Piccard have successfully completed their mission to Ouarzazate, Morocco, they will begin the preparations for their return home to Switzerland, with a return flight to Rabat-Sale International Airport planned for Friday, June 29 at 6:30 a.m. (local time).
The first leg of the journey home will take Borschberg and the Solar Impulse aircraft through the hot, arid regions of the Atlas Mountains, which has been plagued by storms and strong winds. An earlier attempt to fly through this region had forced the team to retreat back to Rabat and reassess its flight plan. Borschberg is hoping by leaving early enough he will make it through before the late day weather of the region picks up in intensity.
If all goes well, Borschberg will move over the Atlas Mountains in the direction of Marrakesh before being confronted with forecast cumulonimbus cloud formations. The Solar Impulse should reach Rabat in the late afternoon, but will need to find a proper holding area in order to avoid the strong winds, which could push the craft away from the city.
Once winds die down, the plane should be able to make touchdown in Rabat sometime around 10 p.m. (local time) on June 29, completing the first part of the team´s return trip home to Payerne, Switzerland.
Although the flight has been confirmed, Piccard said it may be necessary to reschedule or reroute the flight if conditions do not meet their expectations.
You can track the team´s progress over the Internet and via the Solar Impulse app. During the Crossing Frontiers Flights, each flight can be tracked live at www.solarimpulse.com as well as via Twitter.
The airplane´s position, altitude and speed will be shown live and cameras fitted inside the cockpit and at “Mission Control Center.” Viewers will be able to experience the adventure live thanks to the satellite communication system developed by Solar Impulse's National Telecom Partner Swisscom.
Follow the Solar Impulse journey on redOrbit.com here.