Solar Impulse Makes Morocco

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Solar Impulse completed its two-stage flight from Switzerland to Morocco on Tuesday, landing just before midnight in Rabat after a 19-hour flight from Spain. The solar-powered electric aircraft had been in Madrid for more than a week waiting for a weather window to cross the Strait of Gibraltar and the desert of northern Africa. With team leader Bertrand Piccard in the cockpit, the aircraft reached 27,000 feet and averaged about 30 mph on the trip.

The trip was the last in a series of progressively more challenging test flights before Solar Impulse is launched on a circumnavigation flight using only solar power. "Solar Impulse has demonstrated that a solar-powered airplane can fly day and night using no fuel," said a message on the effort's web site. "The next challenge is to fly around the world."