A giant plane made out of solar panels has completed a 17 hour flight from Switzerland to Spain and demonstrates what its creators are calling the technology’s “enormous potential”.
The Solar Impulse HB-SIA carbon fibre airplane has a wingspan as wide as that of an airbus A340 made out of 12,000 solar cells. These power four electric motors from its 400kg lithium polymer batteries during the day, which means the aircraft to fly at night.
The plane left Switzerland yesterday and landed in Madrid in the early hours of the morning. The flight lasted 17 hours at an average ground speed of 89 km/h.
The pilot, André Borschberg said: “It was incredible to fly alongside the barrier of clouds during most of the flight and not need to hesitate to fly above them. This confirms our confidence in the capacity of solar energy even further.”