Solar flight takes off
Solar Impulse, the group whose goal is to fly an airplane around the world propelled solely by solar energy, has proven that night flight using solar energy stored in batteries in possible.
On July 7, 2010, just before 7 in the morning, the prototype Solar Impulse HB-SIA took off from Payerne military airfield for a memorable flight.
André Borschberg piloted the solar-powered aircraft with a wingspan of 64 meters on a non-stop flight lasting more than 26 hours. In the night of July 7-8, the Solar Impulse flew using solar energy stored in the batteries in the course of the day.
It was intended to be the longest and highest flight in the history of solar-powered aviation: the FAI (Fédération Aéronautique Internationale) immediately awarded the Solar Impulse three new world records in the Solar Powered Airplane class. Based on the technical organization and adjudication by the Swiss Aero Club, the FAI ratified the following flight records, owned by André Borschberg:
- Absolute height: 9235 m
- Height gain: 8744 m
- Duration: 26 hours, 10 minutes, 19 seconds
Visit a 3-D animation that explores the Solar Impulse plane inside and out at http://www.solarimpulse.com/index.php.