The HB-SIA based in Switzerland took off from Rabat in Morocco at dawn and was expected to land in Madrid Spain around midnight. The plane has a single pilot and is powered by 12,000 solar cells. They supply power to four 10 horsepower engines and also charge lithium batteries that store energy during the day to be used to fly at night.
The plane has the same wingspan as an Airbus 340! It has already traveled more than 2,500 miles (4,000 kilometers) without any fuel. It started out at a military field outside of Berne Switzerland and flew over Gibraltar and even over the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and then up the Atlantic coast of Morocco.
One of two pilots Andre Borschberg said: “With this flight to Morocco, we have validated the capacity of the airplane to fly through difficult regions,” Borschberg is cofounder of the 102 million dollar Solar Impulse project. It has been supported by a number of different companies. The Solar Impulse organizers hope to fly a new sun-powered plane around the world in 2014. For more see this article.