Solar Airplane Completes Maiden VoyageApr 23rd, 2010 | By Environmental Headlines -- CT environmental news | Category: Energy Conservation, Solar
Never has an airplane as large and light ever flown before
Solar Impulse, a prototype of an airplane designed to fly around the world using only solar power, made its first real flight today. As the sun shone down on the Swiss countryside an aircraft powered by 12,000 solar cells flew for 87 minutes to an altitude of nearly 4,000 feet.
Solar Impulse program founder Bertrand Piccard called the inaugural flight a crucial step toward fulfilling his goal of circumnavigating the globe in such an unusual aircraft. In a statement from the Solar Impulse team, Piccard said he was relieved to have the first flight completed after seven years of hard work.
“This first mission was the most risky phase of the entire project,” Piccard said. “Eighty-seven minutes of intense emotion after seven years of research, testing and perseverance. Never has an airplane as large and light ever flown before!”