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Solar Impulse Plane Takes First Successful Flight!

Posted By Bridgette Meinhold On April 7, 2010 @ 10:07 am In Green Transportation,Solar Power | 6 Comments

solar impulse, solar power, solar powered, solar powered plane, zero emissions, renewable energy, zero emissions flight, plane, solar plane, green design, eco design, sustainable flight, sustainable transportation [1]

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Fabrice Coffrini

After seven years in the making, the Solar Impulse [2] made its first real flight [3] this morning from an airbase in Switzerland. The solar-powered plane got up to 5,500 ft in altitude and performed test maneuvers in order to see if the plane handled as well as simulations predicted. Everything went perfectly for the first test flight and proved that the plane is capable of taking off and landing. With this important test flight behind them, the Solar Impulse team can push on towards gearing up for their solar powered [4] around-the-world flight in 2012.

solar impulse, solar power, solar powered, solar powered plane, zero emissions, renewable energy, zero emissions flight, plane, solar plane, green design, eco design, sustainable flight, sustainable transportation [5]

Photo Credit: AP Photo Keystone/Domini Favrer

The Solar Impulse prototype has a wingspan of over 60 meters, close in size to that of a Boeing 747, but weighs about as much as a small car. About 12,000 solar cells [6] cover the tops of the wings to generate power for the 40 hp engine, with an average speed of 70 kph (44 mph). During the test flight, the Solar Impulse flew for 87 minutes and performed a series of turns, slip maneuvers and bank angles reaching 5 degrees as well as a successful take off and landing.

Marcus Scherdel, the plane’s pilot, said after the flight [7], “Despite its immense size and feather weight, the aircraft’s controllability matches our expectations.” In December, the Solar Impulse started making controlled hops about 3 feet off the ground to test out the plane, but today was the first real flight.

Now that it has proven itself the team can work easier in preparation for their journey around the world. Andre Borschberg, co-pilot and CEO and co-founder of the project, said, “Never has an airplane as large and light flown before!” and that the success of the first flight “allows us to envisage the further programme with greater serenity.” The team is aiming for 2012 for the around the world flight, in which the solar powered plane will fly during both the day and night without fuel [8]. Next up though is a 36 hour flight to test the plane during the night.

+ Solar Impulse [9]

Via Physorg [10], GenevaLunch [7], and Associated Press [11]


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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/solar-impulse-plane-takes-first-successful-flight/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.inhabitat.com/2010/04/07/solar-impulse-plane-takes-first-successful-flight/solar-impulse-first-flight_apphoto_fabrice-coffrini-6/

[2] Solar Impulse: http://www.inhabitat.com/2009/06/30/solar-impulse-plane-unveiled-set-to-circle-the-globe/

[3] real flight: http://www.inhabitat.com/2009/12/04/solar-powered-plane-takes-maiden-flight/

[4] solar powered: http://www.inhabitat.com/2010/02/26/worlds-largest-solar-powered-boat-unveiled/

[5] Image: http://www.inhabitat.com/2010/04/07/solar-impulse-plane-takes-first-successful-flight/solar-impulse-first-flight_apphotokeystone_dominic-faver-9/

[6] solar cells: http://inhabitat.com../solar-power

[7] said after the flight: http://genevalunch.com/blog/2010/04/07/solar-impulse-takes-to-the-air/

[8] fly during both the day and night without fuel: http://www.solarimpulse.com/en/documents/challenge.php?lang=en&group=challenge

[9] + Solar Impulse: http://www.solarimpulse.com/blog/blog.php?lang=en

[10] Physorg: http://www.physorg.com/news189772948.html

[11] Associated Press: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5goDxf8Obh9y8tOk6Nse1GMEmSXWgD9EU82TO1

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