A solar experimental plane made by Solar Impulse landed in Morocco’s capital late on Tuesday night after a 20-hour trip from Madrid in the first transcontinental journey by a craft of its type.
Shortly before Swiss pilot Bertrand Piccard landed in Rabat’s airport, the project co-founder and pilot Andre Borschberg said the aircraft has proved its sustainability.
“The aircraft can now fly day and night. It’s quite a show … It’s a technology we can trust,” he told reporters.
The single-seat aircraft is fitted with 12,000 solar cells across its immense wings (wing span of a Boeing 777) and but only weighs just as much as the average family car, according to organizers.
Piccard 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. “All of the technology on this plane can be used in daily life.”
Dozens of people, including flight organisers and Moroccan officials, gathered at the runway to witness the historic touchdown.
The trip was staged to show the potential for pollution-free air travel.
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.