July 08, 2012
Touchdown ... experimental sun powered ,Solar Impulse. Photo: Reuters
A solar-powered plane has landed in Spain on its way home from breaking a record with the first intercontinental flight by an aircraft run on the sun's energy.
Swiss adventurer Bertrand Piccard piloted the experimental Solar Impulse on the 17-hour flight from Rabat in Morocco.
The 54-year-old landed at Madrid's main airport early on Saturday, his team said in a statement.
The plane, which is made of carbon fibre and flies without fuel, is on its way back to Switzerland after last month flying from Spain to Morocco, the first time a solar-powered aircraft has crossed continents.
The flights are a rehearsal for an attempted round-the-world trip in 2014 by an updated version of the plane.
The 900-kilometre Morocco to Spain leg was "a particularly tactically challenging flight" at an average of 60km/h with the plane hitting strong crosswinds, the team said.