A solar-powered aircraft built by a Swiss based foundation SolarImpulse was able to complete a 26 hour flight this morning.
The plane is a glider with four electric engines of 10 HP each. Gliders that can fly without engine power once up in the air is of course nothing new. But to take off and make it through the night, engines will be needed. And that engine power is coming from pure solar energy on this plane.
The plane has a length of 21.85 meters, a wingspan of 63,40 meters, weight of 1,600 kg, 11,628 solar cells, average flying speed of 70 km/h, take-off speed of 35 km/h and maximum altitude of 8,500 meters. Its wingspan is equal to that of an Airbus A340 jumbo plane.
Solar Impulse has further ambitions of making it around the world on solar energy only.
But the success of even this flight is remarkable since it shows that flying without fuel or pollution is possible.
Commercial solar powered flights are, however, still far away – but not as far away as they were only yesterday.