Solar Impulse May Set Precedent in Solar Flight Tomorrow
A solar-powered aircraft, shaped like a dragonfly, called Solar Impulse is attempting to take a 24-hour solar powered flight today. The goal is to fly through the night. The plane took off early this morning fueled only with solar power.
Solar Impulse is lightweight plane with an impressive wingspan of 63 meters across. This is the same wingspan of an Airbus A340 airliner. The solar cells are on the planes wings and there are four electric motors in the plane. The planes batteries can store seven to eight hours of solar energy allowing the plane to be in flight through the night. At least that is the goal. This will all be determined tomorrow.
The plane is piloted by Andre Borschberg, a 57-year-old pilot, who must sit in the planes tiny cockpit the entire flight. According to Breitbart news in an article called, "Solar plane cruises to historic flight," the plane, "whirred along the runway at Payerne in western Switzerland shortly after daybreak, reaching 35 kilometres per hour (22 mph) as lone pilot Andre Borschberg gently took off into clear summer skies at 6:51 am (0451 GMT)".
An attempt to fly the plane last week was postponed due to failure of an electronic component. Success of today's mission will make it the longest and the highest flight ever made by a solar powered airplane. It will also set a precedent for solar powered flight.
See the plane in flight on this YouTube video:
For more information about this historic flight visit Solar Impulse online.
Thanks for the tip Doug