Sun-powered plane takes off

Sun-powered plane takes off
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The world’s first international solar-powered flight is underway. The plane, Solar Impulse took off from Payerne in Switzerland and is expected to land in Brussels at 9pm Friday.

The high-tech aircraft has the wingspan of a large airliner but weighs only about the same as a saloon car.

But with a journey time of 12 hours for this short trip, could this really be the future of air travel?

The pilot, André Borschberg, spoke to euronews while flying the plane.

“When the Wright Brothers started in 1903 they also did short flights, then 25 years later Lindburgh crossed the Atlantic alone without many navigation aids, so we are using the same process and we need to start at once if we want to get away from the dependency on oil, so you should see this as a first step.”

Solar Impulse holds the record for the longest flight by a manned solar-powered aircraft, after staying in the air for 16 hours.

It has flown several shorter trips before, but the flight to Brussels in crowded European airspace is seen as a new challenge. You can follow its progress live on the internet.

It might not be fast, but at least it’s clean.

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