Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Solar power plane takes flight

On September 21, 2010, Swiss company Solar Impulse  flew its first solar powered plane from Payerne to Geneva. André Borschberg, pilot and co-founder of Solar Impulse, notes the significance of this flight, saying, “the Swiss solar flights represent a major step forward for our team, taking us away from our customary airspace. We have learned to work together with international airports, merging in with the heavy Swiss air traffic.”The pioneering flight lasted about four hours and twenty minutes, with the plane’s speed averaging 50 km/h. The solar plane is powered by four electric motors that produce up to 10 hp, and by 12,000 solar cells, which charge the batteries enough for flights to be taken at nighttime, as well. The time has finally come; not only can we create cars and businesses that let out zero-emissions, but airplanes as well.

This plane is scheduled to fly internationally by 2011 and trans-Atlantic by 2012. The team–comprised of Bertrand Piccard, André Borschberg and Raymond Clerc, among others–is already in the process of creating a faster and more efficient plane, one they hope to fly around the globe by 2013. The company hopes to inspire the next generation of aviators and engineers. Bertrand Piccard believes that “using the solar plane as a symbol, our goal is to promote the pioneering spirit in young people, making them aware of the importance of renewable energy, energy saving and new technologies.”

 [Source:  Olive Branch]

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