Solar power plane to attempt record flight

15 Jul 2010
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Solar panels

An unmanned plane powered solely by solar power is set to attempt a record-breaking endurance flight this month.

The Zephyr solar plane - which was created by UK research company Qinetiq - is being prepared for the flight in order to break its own record of an unbroken 83-hour trip.

"We now have an aircraft that we believe is capable of actually fulfilling missions for the military or the civil user," John Saltmarsh, Qinetiq's Zephyr project manager, told BBC News.

He added that the solar plane could be used to hold a payload in the sky for as long as two months.

The next test will take place in the next few days in Arizona at the US Army's Yuma Proving Ground.

Earlier this month, a Solar Impulse plane completed a 24-hour test run to check out its capabilities.

Pilot Andre Borschberg was able to keep the solar-powered plane in the air for 26 hours, even during hours of darkness.

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