Solar Flight Exceeds Expectations
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The Solar Impulse completed its first night flight at 7:00 A.M. GMT, Reuters reports. Andre Borschberg, the pilot, kept the solar-powered aircraft aloft for just over 26 hours before landing at an air base in Vaud, Switzerland. Project organizers claim the flight sets records as both the highest and longest in solar aviation.
Swiss president of the project, Bertrand Piccard, said that the success of the Solar Impulse indicates that “we are on the verge of the perpetual flight.”
Plans and a budget of $95 million have been approved for the construction of a second prototype, which will be designed to traverse the Atlantic. By 2012, the project aims to produce a solar aircraft capable of circumnavigating the planet.