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Solar powered aircraft flies at night

written by australianaviation.com.au | July 9, 2010
photo - Solar Impulse

An experimental solar powered light aircraft has made the first flight of the type at night, demonstrating its ability to continue flying on battery power for an extended period of time.

The Solar Impulse aircraft, which has a 64.3m span wing with 12,000 solar cells built into it and is powered by four electric motors, took off from Payerne in Switzerland on the morning of July 7. The aircraft was flown to charge up its batteries, allowing it to fly continuously for 26 hours, including during the night using power stored in the batteries. It then landed safely back at Payerne on the morning of June 8.

“It was unbelievable, success better than we expected,” pilot Andre Borschberg told Reuters. “We almost thought to make it longer, but we demonstrated what we wanted to demonstrate so they made me come back.”

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The successful night flight is expected to open the way for Solar Impulse to undertake a trans-Atlantic flight, with the aim of later taking the aircraft on a round-the-world flight which would be completely powered by solar energy.

Steer your own in-flight experience – available on print and digital Whether our classic glossy magazine in your letterbox, daily news updates in your inbox, peeling back a few layers in the podcast or our monthly current affair reports, you can count on us to keep you up to date. Sign up today for just $99.95 for more exclusive offers here. Subscribe now at australianaviation.com.au.

Solar powered aircraft flies at night

written by australianaviation.com.au | July 9, 2010
photo - Solar Impulse

An experimental solar powered light aircraft has made the first flight of the type at night, demonstrating its ability to continue flying on battery power for an extended period of time.

The Solar Impulse aircraft, which has a 64.3m span wing with 12,000 solar cells built into it and is powered by four electric motors, took off from Payerne in Switzerland on the morning of July 7. The aircraft was flown to charge up its batteries, allowing it to fly continuously for 26 hours, including during the night using power stored in the batteries. It then landed safely back at Payerne on the morning of June 8.

“It was unbelievable, success better than we expected,” pilot Andre Borschberg told Reuters. “We almost thought to make it longer, but we demonstrated what we wanted to demonstrate so they made me come back.”

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The successful night flight is expected to open the way for Solar Impulse to undertake a trans-Atlantic flight, with the aim of later taking the aircraft on a round-the-world flight which would be completely powered by solar energy.

Steer your own in-flight experience – available on print and digital Whether our classic glossy magazine in your letterbox, daily news updates in your inbox, peeling back a few layers in the podcast or our monthly current affair reports, you can count on us to keep you up to date. Sign up today for just $99.95 for more exclusive offers here. Subscribe now at australianaviation.com.au.

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