The first solar plane takes off

The first solar plane takes off

Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg must be very proud. The promotors of the solar plane project reported that their baby took off today for the first time — successfully. The plane flew 349 metres (1,140 feet) and landed without any problems. The whole experiment took place at the Dubendorf Airfield, Zurich, and the plane was piloted by Markus Scherdel.
“This is the result of 6 years of hard work by an amazing team of experts,” said Borschberg.

The team who is working on this project (over 50 experts from 6 countries) has been working hard on testing the plane in the last couple of months, and it seems that they’ve done a great job.

Solar Impulse is a solar plane project currently under study at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland. The goal is to create an airplane which would be capable of flying day and night without fuel — powered by solar energy.


Photo by Stephane Gros/Solar Impulse

The whole project started in 2003 by performing a feasibility study at the EPFL. From 2004-2006 the concept development and simulation tests were done, and the first prototype was built in 2007. Prototype test flights were done in 2008 and 2009. The definite construction of the plane will be done during 2010. The take-off is supposed to happen on May 11, 2011 for a flight around the world.

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