Skydiver Raphael Domjan made history on Tuesday by being the first to parachute from a solar-powered aircraft.
The dive took place in Payerne, Switzerland, aiming to shine a light on the exciting future of renewable energies. The exclusively solar-powered plane, created by SolarStratos, generated zero CO2 emissions on its journey - meaning Domjan was able to freefall in “absolute silence”.
“I am very proud of this achievement,” he said. “Our aim is to demonstrate the potential of solar energy and electric mobility. It is a message of hope for future generations: tomorrow they will still be able to dream and carry out activities such as parachuting, for example, but without greenhouse gas emissions and in absolute silence.”
The plane reached an altitude of 5000 feet (1520 metres) as Domjan flung himself into the air, reaching speeds of more than 150 km/h himself before landing. The skydive was not only the first free fall from a solar-powered vehicle, but also the first in history from an electric plane.
The jump has received praise from within Switzerland and all over Europe, being viewed as another step in the right direction when it comes to the country’s eco-friendly credentials.
Switzerland’s energy consumption has been getting greener over the last few years, with 68 per cent of it coming from renewable sources in 2017, compared with 62 per cent the previous year, according to news outlet Swissinfo.
Alphons Hubman from the International Aeronautical Federation called the project “extraordinary”, commenting that SolarStratos is starting a “new trend with a pioneering spirit”.
The team plans to carry out a high-altitude solar flight of up to 20,000 metres in 2022.
“I hope that this will continue to make the young people of tomorrow dream, thanks to aircraft that are more respectful of our planet and our climate,” concludes Domjan.