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Solar & Alternative Energy

Solar plane completes successful overnight flight

8 July 2010

An experimental airplane landed safely after flying through the night propelled entirely by 12,000 solar cells and sunlight-powered lithium batteries.

The HB-SIA carbon-fiber aircraft, weighing about as much as a mid-size car, touched down on 8 July at Payerne near Lake Neuchatel, Switzerland, at 9 a.m. local time, the Solar Impulse group said.

"I have just flown more than 26 hours without using a drop of fuel and without causing any pollution!" said the pilot, Andre Borschberg.

The single-seat plane averaged 23 knots (26 miles per hour) making loops over lakes and Switzerland's Jura Mountains. The next challenge will be for Solar Impulse to cross the Atlantic, then a five-stop, around-the-world flight set for 2013 using a second prototype about to begin construction this summer.

Full story from Bloomberg

Solar Impulse website