Solar plane successfully completes first ever night flight

08. July 2010 | Markets & Trends, Industry & Suppliers | By:  Becky Stuart

The Solar Impulse HB-SIA solar plane has successfully completed its first night flight, thus leading the way for the company to explore “human and technological limits further”. The achievement, says the company, has marked a milestone in solar aviation history.

Solar Impulse's first successful night flight

The plane is powered by solar energy. Image: Solar Impulse.

For more than 26 hours, André Borschberg, CEO and co-founder of the Solar Impulse project piloted the aircraft, which has a wing span of 64 meters. The plane was up in the air for the whole day and night, flying solely on solar energy. "This flight is the longest and highest in the history of solar aviation," said Solar Impulse.

Following its success, the company has said it will now be focusing on its attempt to cross the Atlantic and undertake an around the world flight using a second prototype, which is set to go under construction this summer.

"I've been a pilot for 40 years now, but this flight has been the most incredible one of my flying career,” said Mr. Borschberg. “Just sitting there and watching the battery charge level rise and rise thanks to the sun… And then that suspense of not knowing whether we were going to manage to stay up in the air the whole night. And finally the joy of seeing the sun rise and feeling the energy beginning to circulate in the solar panels again.”

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