DHAKA: An experimental solar-powered airplane took off from Switzerland on its first transcontinental flight on Thursday, aiming to reach North Africa next week.
Pilot Andre Borschberg planned to take the jumbo jet-size Solar Impulse plane on its first leg to Madrid, Spain, by Friday.
His colleague Bertrand Piccard will take the helm of the aircraft for the second stretch of its 2,500km journey to the Moroccan capital Rabat.
Fog on the runaway at its home base in Payerne, Switzerland, delayed the take off by two hours, demonstrating how susceptible the prototype single-seater aircraft is to adverse weather.
‘We can’t fly into clouds because it was not designed for that’, Borschberg said as he piloted the lumbering plane with its 63m wingspan toward the eastern French city of Lyon at a cruising speed of just 70kmh.
BDST: 1829 HRS, MAY 24, 2012
Edited by Robab Rosan, Cultural Affairs Editor
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