Monday, November 29, 1999

Solar plane set for test flight in night sky

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London, June 17 (ANI): A plane, called Solar Impulse, which is powered by the sun's rays, is all set to go on a test flight at night later this month.e Swiss researchers, led by adventurer Bertrand Piccard, have said that they will try to fly the Solar Impulse nonstop for 24 hours as part of its testing program, reports the Telegraph.Piccard is hoping to fly the solar-powered plane around the world in 2012.The team has claimed that the pilot, Andre Borschberg, will need to conserve enough battery power during the day to make it through the night.Borschberg has said that by flying through the night, the plane could stay airborne for successive cycles and come close to permitting perpetual flight.The researchers aim to prove that renewable energy can be used for safe, long-distance flights.The Solar Impulse, or HB-SIA, has a giant wingspan of 61m but weighs just one and a half tons.It has been compared to a jumbo jet that weighs as much as a family car.Most of the weight saving comes from the very lightweight carbon fibre used to build it.It first left the ground in December 2009 and has since performed a series of short daytime flight tests, dubbed "flea-hops", venturing no higher than 60cm (2ft) in altitude and 300m in distance.The first full day flight was completed on 7 April.A spokeswoman for the team said the exact date of the test flight would depend on the weather. (ANI)

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