July 12, 2010 18:47 by Ty
André Borschberg from Solar Impulse has flown a solar powered airplane for over 26 hours, setting the record and powered strictly off the sun with solar cells spanned across the wings. The Swiss solar powered plane flew up to an altitude of 28,000 feet in the day, and slowly decended to 4,500 feet throughout the night.
Chief Executive André Borschberg describes his experience in flight, “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 then finally the joy of seeing the sun rise and feeling the energy beginning to circulate in the solar panels again.”
Solar Impulse has shown that renewable energy is possible in flight and has shown the unlimited capabilities of renewable energy using solar panels and batteries. Actual flight of the Solar Impulse HB-SIA aircraft must have been just as exciting as watching the Wright brothers first plane flight in 1903 that lasted 12 seconds and flew 120 feet.
Solar Impulse Specs:
Wingspan: 63,40 m
Length: 21,85 m
Height: 6,40 m
Weight: 1,600 Kg
Motor power: 4 x 10 HP electric engines
Solar cells: 11,628 (10 748 on the wing, 880 on the horizontal stabilizer)
Average flying speed: 70 km/h
Take-off speed: 35 km/h
Maximum altitude: 8,500 m (27,900 ft)
Solar Impulse Pictures: