The Solar Impulse project announced the takeoff of HB-SIA from its Swiss home field at Payerne with André Borschberg at the controls this morning. The 08:24AM (UTC +2) departure will lead to a full day’s flight, with Solar Impulse landing at Madrid Barajas Airport around 01:00AM (UTC+2) for a minimum 3-day technical stopover.
Weather permitting, the first possible departure for Rabat, with Bertrand Piccard at the controls, will be Monday 28 May. This will be his first major outing in the airplane, and a significant one, since he will cross the Mediterranean to Morocco, the first intercontinental flight by a solar-powered aircraft.
The video from Mountain Radio included interviews with both Borschberg and Piccard, whose tastes in music are explored.
As usual, the team has put together an excellent range of ways to follow the flight. There’s even an app for that. Solar Impulse explains, “During the Crossing Frontiers Flights, each flight can be tracked live on www.solarimpulse.com as well as via Twitter (for André or Bertrand), Facebook and via the Smartphone app ‘Solar Impulse Inventing the Future’, available free on Appstore and Androïd Market. The airplane’s position, altitude and speed will be shown live and cameras fitted inside the cockpit and at “Mission Control Center”, the mission’s nerve center, will allow you to experience the adventure live.”