Solar-Powered Plane Lands Safely After Night Flight
A celebration is underway in Switzerland as the first pilot to fly a solar-powered plane through the night lands safely. The project, Solar Impulse, also includes plans for a round-the-world flight.The Solar Impulse HB-SIA, with pilot Andr??Â« Borschberg at its controls, successfully landed Thursday morning in Switzerland after flying through the night, a first-ever feat that was heralded by the organization which built the plane at the ??Â½cole Polytechnique F??Â«d??Â«rale de Lausanne, as a major milestone on the way to a round-the-world flight in a solar-powered aircraft. The plane was up in the air on Wednesday for the entire day, then through the night, flying solely on solar energy, marking the longest and highest in the history of solar aviation, according to the organization. On the project's Web site, those involved with the project wrote the next important milestones for Solar Impulse will be the crossing the Atlantic and the around the world flight, using the second prototype which goes into construction this summer.
"I've been a pilot for 40 years now, but this flight has been the most incredible one of my flying career. Just sitting there and watching the battery charge level rise and rise thanks to the sun. And then that suspense, not knowing whether we were going to manage to stay up in the air the whole night. And finally the joy of seeing the sun rise and feeling the energy beginning to circulate in the solar panels again," said Borschberg, CEO and co-founder of the Solar Impulse project. "I have just flown more than 26 hours without using a drop of fuel and without causing any pollution."