Gallery: Sun-Powered Solar Impulse Plane Completes First Night Flight

 

The Solar Impulse airplane landed in Switzerland this morning after a 26-hour flight that proved that a solar-powered airplane can fly in darkness. The propeller plane has nearly 12,000 solar cells on its 207-foot lightweight carbon-fiber wings. The cells stored enough energy between takeoff at 7 a.m. yesterday and nightfall last night to get pilot André Borschberg through the night at a maximum altitude of 28,000 feet.

The next step for the Solar Impulse project will be a trans-Atlantic flight using a new prototype plane. Commercial solar flight, sadly, remains a long way off: the Solar Impulse travels at 43 miles per hour and carries just the pilot. But you’ve got to start somewhere, and this team is making the kind of trail-blazing progress that will show others that solar flight — in the dark! — can be done.

+ Solar Impulse

Via Daily Mail

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    [...] building for the DOD will be able to fly unmanned for five years straight. Not unlike the Solar Impulse, Boeing’s SolarEagle will feature hyper-efficient electric motors and propellers and long [...]

  2. Zephyr to Complete Long... July 19, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    [...] world records are being broken by a waify aircraft called the Zephyr. We recently reported on the Solar Impulse flying the first 24-hour flight and proving that a sun-powered plane can fly at night, but the [...]

  3. Airbus Unveils Fuel-Eff... July 19, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    [...] soon as 2030, we might be flying in a new, more efficient aircraft with long, curled wings, a U-shaped tail, and a lightweight body — if manufacturer Airbus develops the “fantasy [...]

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