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The size of an A340 wingspan of a 777 but only weighs as much as a family car
An experimental solar-powered plane landed in Morocco's capital Rabat after a 20-hour trip from Madrid in the first transcontinental journey by a craft of its type.
Solar Impulse The carbon-fibre plane is the size of an Airbus A340 with the wingspan of a 777 but only weighs as much as an average family car
Pilot Bertrand Piccard landed the Solar Impulse in Rabat - 19 hours after taking off from Madrid.
The plane - the size of a jumbo jet - was powered by 12,000 solar cells turning four electrical motors.
The 2,500km-trip (1,550 miles), begun in Switzerland in May, is described as a rehearsal for a world tour in 2014 .
Made of carbon fibre, the plane is the size of an Airbus A340 but only weighs as much as an average family car, according to its creators.
People were able to follow the aircraft's flight progress via a virtual dashboard on Solar Impulse's website, which showed the plane's battery status, altitude and speed.
Mr Piccard was also posting live updates of his journey on Twitter (@bertrandpiccard). In one of his tweets, the former balloonist described the "great feeling" of gliding across southern European skies with solar-powered engines.
The Solar Impulse project was launched in 2003 by Mr Piccard and Swiss pilot Andre Boschberg who flew the first leg of the journey from Switzerland to Madrid in late May.
The aircraft made history in July 2010 when it became the first manned solar plane to complete a 26-hour nonstop flight.
The landmark flight proved that the sun's energy was enough to keep the plane in the air, even at night.
The organisers now hope to go on a round-the-world tour with an improved Solar Impulse model in 2014.
"It was perhaps the most beautiful flight of my life, I have dreamed since I was a child of flying without using fuel," said pilot Bertrand Piccard, who has already circumnavigated the world by balloon. He said the Solar Impulse project had chosen Morocco because of its ambitious plans to increase its reliance on solar power.
"We came here out of admiration for Morocco's pioneering solar energy program," he said, flashing a brilliant smile and hugging members of his team on the tarmac. "All of the technology on this plane can be used in daily life."
Morocco is set to begin construction on a huge solar energy farm in the south as part of an ambitious project to lessen its dependence on fossil fuels and produce 2,000 megawatts of solar energy by 2020. It also plans to eventually export the energy to Europe.
The light craft can only fly in perfect weather. The plane has managed to climb to 28,000 feet and reached top speeds of over 75 mph, though its usual cruising speed is just over half that.
The project began in 2003 and is estimated to cost about $100 million over 10 years.
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