Earlier this summer, the plane known as the Solar Impulse landed at New York’s JFK airport, completing the final leg of a journey across the US using nothing but the power of the sun.With the exception of a tear in the fabric of the left wing, the journey went off without a hitch.
Nearly 12,000 solar cells, drive its four propellers and charge the plane’s 400kg of lithium-ion batteries for night-time flying.
The two seater HB-SIA craft carried out the first inter-continental flight in 2012 and holds the world record for the longest manned solar-powered flight at 26 hours.
A larger, two-seat plane, the HB-SIB, is going to attempt an around the world flight in the spring of 2015.
The pilots Piccard and Borschberg are behind what is known as the Clean Generation Initiative, an effort to encourage policy-makers and businesses to develop and adopt sustainable energy technologies.
© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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