Solar-powered aircraft has successful test flight

08 Jul 2010
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Sky

Solar cells and batteries have been successfully deployed in an experimental aircraft.

The Solar Impulse plane stayed in the air for 26 hours and was able to remain in flight even when it was dark.

As a result, its designers believe it is possible to develop an aircraft capable of flying indefinitely.

Bertrand Piccard, one of the people behind the project, told pilot Andre Borschberg: "When you took off it was another era.

"You land in a new era where people understand that with renewable energy you can do impossible things."

The team now hope to develop an aircraft based on the same design principles which is capable of travelling around the globe.

Solar Impulse uses 12,000 solar cells to generate power and has a wingspan of 207 feet.

The technology could potentially have wide-ranging implications for the future of aviation, which has been criticised by many for producing a high level of carbon emissions.

According to the International Air Transport Association, the emissions generated by the sector are comparable to those produced by the IT industry.

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