Could the skies one day be filled with aircraft like the Solar Impulse?
The revolutionary solar-powered plane has taken off on its quest to stay airborne for between 25 to 27 hours, night and day, in the Swiss skies. Apart from the pilot it carries 400 kilos of lithium-polymer batteries, and flies at about 35 kilometres an hour.
“You know it’s 11 years of dreams, 7 years of work, in order to demonstrate that an aeroplane can fly day and night with no fuel. So basically it’s the most important day of the project since we launched it,” says the project’s creator Bertrand Piccard.
Solar Impulse’s wings are almost the size of an Airbus 340’s, but this is just a prototype. The next stage is to fly around the world, planned for 2012.