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Aviation solar powered plane Solar Impulse

Published on July 9th, 2010 | by Zachary Shahan


Solar-Powered Plane Completes 1st 24-Hour Flight

July 9th, 2010 by  

solar powered plane Solar Impulse

We’ve written about the Solar Impulse airplane here on Cleantechnica before. It is a completely solar-powered plane built in Switzerland. Not long after taking its first flight (in December, 2009) the plane has now just set a new record by being the first solar-powered plane to fly for 24 hours straight.

“The plane, piloted by Solar Impulse chief executive and former fighter jet pilot Andre Borschberg, landed at the Payerne airbase in Switzerland at 9am local time, having flown through the night using power stored in the aircraft’s batteries,” Business Green reports.

The plane had 3 hours worth of battery power left when it landed, more than the Solar Impulse team expected.

In addition to being the first solar-powered plane to fly for 24 hours straight, it also broke the altitude record for solar-powered aircraft, flying as high as 8,500 meters (27,887 feet).

The Solar Impulse team’s next goal is to fly around the world in 2013. It is starting work on a new version of the plane for that.

I think this is one huge step for solar technology, in general. It is a sign of how far we’ve come as well as a taste of how much solar enery potential there is.

Although many engineers don’t think solar-powered planes will ever replace standard commercial-scale aircraft, I have my hopes and would love to fly in one such plane one day.

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Photo Credit: Deutsche Bank AG via flickr/CC license 
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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) one letter at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. Otherwise, he's probably enthusiastically fulfilling his duties as the director/editor of EV Obsession, Gas2, Solar Love, Planetsave, or Bikocity; or as president of Important Media. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, energy storage, and wind energy expert. If you would like him to speak at a related conference or event, connect with him via social media:, .

  • John Bravo

    I think this is really great concept. Because fuel prices hiking day by day and pollution also affect to ozone layer and due to global warming it is really worth for human lives. But I have a doubt, suppose the sun covered by the clouds then what to do? Is there any other options? I am just worried about it.

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