Solar Plane Impulse: Test flight success

By Posted 8 Jul 2010, 13:53

Solar Impulse, the prototype solar plane, which we reported to you yesterday has had success on its first 24-hour test flight. The aircraft managed to say in the air for 26 hours – two hours longer thanks to how the plane was able to store the solar energy in its batteries. The next step is to cross the Atlantic.

This through-the-night test has been six years in the planning, so was a joy to see the Swiss team achieve what they set out to do. Solar Impulse came to land early this morning at Payerne airfield in Switzerland at 0900 local time. Helpers at the scene had to rush to help stabilize the plane in fear of damaging the huge 63-meter wingspan.

This was just one of several test flight, but this is certainly one of the most important and shows that solar powered flight is possible – although not certain how this will affect commercial air travel. The amount of power needed for that would take a huge amount of batteries – making the plane too heavy to get off the ground.

However, there could be a way to make conventional planes like hybrids. Meaning that you will still use the engines to fly, but all other forms of power can be run from solar energy. I am not an engineer, so not certain how this all works. For more details on this successful flight visit Fox News