Solar Plane Passes Big Test, Flies 24 Hours Straight
Switzerland: A solar-powered plane has completed a crucial 24 test flight in the skies over Switzerland.
The Solar Impulse landed around 9:00 am after 26 hours in the air. It had just completed the world's first night flight with a solar plane.
"When the sun rose, I saw the solar generators slowly
getting back to active, so I thought, hmm, it's alive
again! And I knew I could continue flying for another
day," said pilot Andre Borschberg. "It
was so beautiful. When you're passionate about flying,
you can just keep on doing it."
After landing, the technical team rushed to stabilize the Impulse and help the pilot out.
"When you took off it was another era," said an emotional Bertrand Piccard, co-founder of the project. "Now you land in an era where people understand that with renewable energy you can do impossible things.""
"Everything went very well, it's really unbelievable,"
said after exiting the bathtub-sized cockpit. "We
is feasible to fly day and night, which
technology can be used to save energy and to produce
energy, and that's exactly what we wanted to show."
A successful day-and-night cycle was a vital step toward traveling around the world. This summer, the team plans to build a slightly larger version which could fly for up to 5 days. It would land only to switch pilots.
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