Solar plane completes 24-hour record-breaking flight

Posted Jul 8, 2010 by Christopher Szabo
An experimental aircraft has completed its first 24-hour flight using only the power of the sun, bringing it closer to the creators’ goal of circling the globe using solar power.
The Solar Impluse soars above the Jura Mountains of Switzerland.
The Solar Impluse soars above the Jura Mountains of Switzerland.
flickr/Deutsche Bank AG
The Solar Impulse touched down at Payerne, south of the Swiss capital, Bern on the morning of July 8, the Press Association said. The plane has a wingspan of 63 metres (207 feet) and helpers had to catch the wings to prevent them striking the ground as it taxied on the runway.
The record-beating team said the Solar Impulse’s 12,000 solar cells stored enough energy during daylight hours that the plane could fly through the night.
Andre Borschberg, a former Swiss Air Force jet pilot flew the four-engined aircraft.
The feat follows seven years of planning and brings the team closer to their eventual goal of flying around the world using solar energy alone, according to the Guardian. Project co-founder Betrand Piccard said after the epoch-making flight:
"When you took off it was another era. You land in a new era where people understand that with renewable energy you can do impossible things."
The aircraft is designed to test and promote new alternative technologies.