The Solar Impulse plane has been proved that it can collect energy from the sun during the day to stay aloft all night. The aircraft has completed its first 24-hours test flight successfully. The aim was to assess whether the plane can fly in darkness, using solar cells on its wings to generate enough power to stay in the air for 24 hours.
The Solar impulse, which took off from Switzerland, has the weight of a family car but the wingspan of a big airliner. Pilot Andre Borschberg eased the Solar impulse out of the clear blue morning sky onto the runway at Payerne airfield about 30 miles (50 kilometers) southwest of the Swiss capital Bern at exactly 9 am. Helpers rushed to stabilize the pioneering plane as it touched down, ensuring that its massive 207-foot (63 meter) wingspan didn’t scrape the ground and topple the craft.
The test brings the Swiss-led project one step closer to its goal of circling the globe using only energy from the sun. ‘We achieved more than we wanted’ , told Borschberg. ‘Everybody is extremely happy.’
It is the longest and highest flight ever made by a solar plan.