Solar-powered Plane: Night Flight decision to come

By Peter Chubb - Jul 7, 2010

Solar Impulse, the solar-powered plane began its 24-hour flight this morning, but a decision will be made at 2 p.m. ET if the pilot will want to carry-on through the night. This plane is considered the future of travel, as there are hopes that the sun will eventually power all planes.

Solar Impulse set off at 7 am, Switzerland local time, a little late due to a technical issue. The plane is to reach 27,900 feet by this evening, which is when that tough decision will be made about continuing through the night.

This will depend on a number of factors, how well the plane feels mechanically and whether the solar panels have managed to store enough power in the batteries to last through the night. The team behind the project hopes that all will be fine for the first night flight, as “This flight is crucial for the credibility of the project.” That’s according to co-founder Bertrand Piccard.

USA Today learned from AP that the 24-hour test flight was due to take place last week, but there was an issue with some equipment – thankfully that was solved. If successful, the next step will be to fly across the Atlantic.

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Also See: Solar Plane Impulse maiden International flight gets underway