In a triumph of aero-engineering and proving that solar power has a future in the skies, a solar-powered airplane has successfully completed a 26-hour flight when it landed in Switzerland, reports the BBC.
The solar-powered plane took off last Wednesday and flew to a height of 8,700 m (28,543 ft). It used super-efficient solar cells and batteries to remain in flight even after the Sun’s rays had faded.
The aircraft has four engines and was piloted by Andre Borschberg, a former fighter jet pilot from Switzerland. The entire flight lasted for 26 hours, dmaking it the longest and highest flight by a solar-powered aircraft.
The historic flight was the first step in the Solar Impulse team, led by Mr Borschberg and fellow aviator Bertrand Piccard’s ultimate goal of flying around the globe on a solar-powered plane.
A new, more advanced and more efficient version of the aircraft is planned to be built and will make the attempt to circle the globe in 2013.