Monday, July 18, 2011

Solar plane makes first international flight

A solar energy plane made the world's first international flight powered by the sun on Friday to show the potential for pollution-free air travel.
The Solar Impulse took off from an airfield at Payerne in western Switzerland and landed at Brussels airport after a 13-hour flight.
The pilot and project leaders Andre Borshberg and Bertrand Piccard said it had been a major challenge to fit a slow-flying plane into the commercial air traffic system.

With an average flying speed of 44 mph, Solar Impulse is not an immediate threat to commercial jets, which can easily cruise at more than 10 times the speed. A flight from Geneva from Brussels can take little more than an hour.
But it was a huge day for the founders who wanted the whole world to see what can be achieved with existing, renewable energy.
During the flight Borshberg said it was "symbolic to be able to go from one place to another using solar energy" - a glimpse at a less polluting future.
Piccard said it was also proof that Friday the 13th is a propitious day after all.
After a whole day spent drifting quietly through the air Borshberg said he was having trouble coming back down to earth.

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