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July 8, 2010

Solar plane completes 24-hour test flight

Filed under: Technology — aerotowfeeq @ 2:52 pm
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Solar Impulse’s Chief Executive Officer and pilot Andre Borschberg takes off in the solar-powered HB-SIA prototype airplane for its first night flight attempt at Payerne airport on Wednesday. A Swiss team planning to eventually circle the globe in a solar-powered plane has started a 24-hour test flight that aims to keep the aircraft operating through the night on stored energy collected from the sun.

(AP):The record feat brings it one step closer to the makers’ ultimate aim of circling the globe using only energy from the sun.

The plane with its 207-foot (63-meter) wingspan touched down at Payerne airfield about 31 miles (50 kilometers) southwest of the Swiss capital Bern at 9 a.m. (0700 GMT; 3 a.m. EDT) Thursday.

The Solar Impulse team says the plane’s 12,000 solar cells managed to store enough energy during the day to last through the night. They say that proves the plane can stay in the air nonstop around the clock.

The prototype four-engine aircraft was steered by Andre Borschberg, a former fighter jet pilot from Switzerland.

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