The Solar Impulse took off from Madrid at 0322 GMT Tuesday (11:22 p.m. ET Monday) and landed at Rabat's international airport after a 19-hour flight.
Shortly before Swiss pilot Bertrand Piccard landed in Rabat's airport, the project's 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.
Pilot Piccard descended from the plane, smiling as he was greeted by Borshberg and Mustafa Bakkoury, the head of Morocco's solar energy agency.
The Solar Impulse project began in 2003 with a 10-year budget of 90 million euros ($112.18 million) and has involved engineers from Schindler, the Swiss elevator manufacturer, as well as research aid from Belgian chemical group Solvay.
On Tuesday, the aircraft crossed the Gibraltar Strait separating Africa and Europe at one of its narrowest points. The flight is crucial for the project's developers because it would help improve the organization of a world tour planned in 2013.
The plane, which requires 12,000 solar cells, embarked on its first flight in April 2010 and completed a 26-hour flight, a record flying time for a solar-powered aircraft, three months later.
It made its first international flight last month when it completed a 13-hour trip from the western Swiss town of Payern to Brussels.
With an average flying speed of 44 mph (70 kilometers per hour), Solar Impulse is not an immediate threat to commercial jets, which can easily cruise at more than 10 times the speed. The typical commercial jet can make the flight from Madrid to Rabat in a little more than an hour.
Project leaders acknowledged it had been a major challenge to fit a slow-flying plane into the commercial air traffic system.
Genesis Morocco : http://genesismorocco.blogspot.com