Thursday 06 August 2009, Morocco: A British team of intrepid pilots crossed the Strait of Gibraltar from Spain to Ceuta, Morocco at dawn this morning to achieve the world’s longest solar-powered flight, demonstrating the latest combination in solar energy, battery power and paramotors.
The pilots, flying the first commercial solar-powered electric paramotor, completed the 12-mile crossing in less than half an hour despite local newspaper reports of lurking Great White sharks. Today’s final leg is the culmination of an exciting 15-day expedition starting from Monte-Carlo travelling through France, Spain and finally landing in Morocco, covering an estimated 2000km.
The expedition’s objectives were to raise awareness of ataxia; a debilitating disease that affects part of the nervous system that normally control co-ordination and balance, and prevalent in more than 10,000 adults in the UK and many more children. The Solar Electric Flight has also raised nearly £10,000 for Ataxia UK, the national charity for people affected by ataxia.
During the course of the journey, the Solar Electric Flight team have experienced highlights that include the stunningly beautiful terrain of the Southern Alps and Pyrenees mountains and hardships such as suffering a number of failed launches and emergency landings resulting in broken propellers, dented equipment and a few aching bones; and faced the prospect of ditching into a sea infested with Great White sharks.
“What we have done is a remarkable feat, explains expedition organiser Damian Cardozo. To set out using the latest solar-power and paramotor technology and to succeed in tough conditions, while at the same time raising a lot of money for Ataxia UK is a very worthwhile and laudable achievement. I would like to thank our sponsors Smart Solar, LottyB, Hurun Report and The Week for all their support.
The Solar Electric Flight is the Incredible Websites inaugural fundraising expedition, but the website plans to showcase and support other incredible adventures, feats and endeavours, to help Ataxia UK achieve the goal of a successful treatment being developed.
“The idea is pretty simple, everybody who cares about a cause wants to have an effect, explains Damian. A lot of people, giving just a little, adds up to a big difference. By showcasing the Incredible we hope to inspire our visitors to donate to a worthy cause and to conceive their own unique endeavours and become part of our fundraising community.
added: 12th August: This event made the Telegraph News Paper http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/6010688/British-family-sets-new-solar-flight-record.html