Friday, July 09, 2010
Solar Plane Lands After 26 Hours
After more than 26 hours in flight, the solar-powered aircraft Solar Impulse comes in for landing.
The plane's day-long flight in Switzerland successfully showed its ability to fly at night, as well as daytime, using energy stored up in 12,000 solar cells.
Flying without any traditional fuels or polluting emissions, the HB-SIA aircraft reached a max altitude of more than 8,500 metres.
Pilot Andre Borschberg was ecstatic over the flight.
[Andre Borschberg, Pilot, CEO and Co-founder of Project]:
"It was unbelievable, success better than what we expected. We almost thought to make it longer but we said no, we demonstrated what we wanted to demonstrate so they made me come back, so here I am but it was gorgeous."
The carbon-fibre Solar Impulse flew through the air with a 64 meter wingspan, weighing only about as much as a medium-sized car.
Thursday's historic flight comes after six years of development on a budget of $94 million dollars—much of it secured through sponsors.
The aircraft's previous test flight had lasted for only 87 minutes.
Next up for the Solar Impulse is a planned solar flight across the Atlantic, followed by a flight around the world.