July 5, 2012
Solar Impulse Flight To Madrid Rescheduled
Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
The Solar Impulse team of Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg have rescheduled the second-to-last-stage flight of their journey home, a journey that has so far taken them more than 2,400 miles and across two continents flying only on the energy of the Sun.
The flight from Rabat-Sale International Airport in Morocco to Madrid, Spain was originally scheduled for a 3 July liftoff, but was later postponed due to extreme high- and mid-altitude winds that could have proved disastrous for the HB-SIA aircraft.
After monitoring weather forecasts from the Payerne, Switzerland headquarters, the team´s Mission control found there should be an opportunity on July 6 for the crew to liftoff. The plane will take off at about 6:00 a.m. (local time) on the 6th and should arrive in Madrid-Barajas Airport at around 12:30 a.m. (local time) on July 7.
The flight path will take Piccard in the direction of Tangier, where it will ascend to 13,000 feet in preparation of crossing the Strait of Gibraltar on the way to Spain. After crossing the Strait, the aircraft will continue to climb to 26,000 feet while heading in the direction of Seville then Toledo, then will begin its descent toward Madrid.
Events are scheduled to take place in Madrid once the plane makes touchdown. Partners of Solar Impulse, including Omega, Schindler, Altran, and Bayer MaterialsScience will partake in the events, honoring the team and the project before the crew make the last flight home to Payerne.
Reflecting on the mission so far, the team said despite a few flight delays, the events surrounding their time in Morocco were a great success.
“With this flight to Morocco, we have validated the capacity of the airplane to fly through difficult regions. The first attempt to Ouarzazate followed by the successful completion of the mission has trained the entire team. I have the feeling that we´ve accumulated experiences and wisdoms which have strengthened our confidence for the round the world flight.” Borschberg, Co-founder and CEO of Solar Impulse, said in a statement on the Solar Impulse website.
Mission control said although the flight has been confirmed, the flight director may still decide to postpone the flight or alter the route depending on weather and/or technical issues.
For a timeline of events, follow the link here.