Solar powered plane takes 'last rehearsal' flight over Mediterranean

   May 25, 6:48 pm

London, May 25 (ANI): A solar powered plane takes off for its "last rehearsal" before a round-the-world attempt in 2014.

The Solar Impulse took off on the world's first cross-Mediterranean flight from an airfield in western Switzerland and is scheduled to make a stopover in Spain after a 20-hour flight, before finally flying to the Moroccan capital Rabat on Monday.

This last rehearsal flight will help prepare the pilots for an attempt at a round-the-world journey.

"Today it's the last rehearsal for the flight around the world in 2014. For Andre and myself as pilots and for the entire team, the mission control team and technical team," the Telegraph quoted Solar Impulse founder, Bertrand Piccard, as telling a news agency.

Pilot Andre Borschberg, who was flying the aircraft to Madrid, found it "rewarding" that the plane flies only using solar power.

"Well the most fun is to be able to go up to 9,000 metres with solar energy, and the more I will fly during the day, the more energy I will collect even in the batteries, so that's very impressing, very different.

"That's extremely rewarding that we're able to go to Madrid and generate energy at the same time, so that's a big big gift," Borschberg told reporters before take off.

The Solar Impulse project began in 2003 with a 10-year budget of 90 million euros and has involved engineers from Swiss lift maker Schindler and research aid from Belgian chemicals group Solvay.

The plane, which requires 12,000 solar cells, embarked on its first flight in April 2010 and completed a 26-hour flight three months later, setting a record flying time for a solar powered aircraft.

In 2011, the plane and its crew completed the world's first international flights with a solar-powered airplane as they landed at Brussels and Paris airports.

With an average flying speed of 70 kmph (44 mph), Solar Impulse is not an immediate threat to commercial jets, which can easily cruise at more than 10 times that speed. (ANI)

'Gender-switching' gene in mosquitoes can help fight dengue fever May 22, 3:08 pm
Washington, May 22 (ANI): A team of scientists has found a way to turn disease-spreading female mosquito embryos into males at a genetic level that can lead to powerful population control strategies.
Full Story
Extract from 'thunder god vine' could treat obesity May 22, 2:28 pm
Washington, May 22 (ANI): A Thunder God vine extract, which is also an ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine, could be a potential cure for obesity, suggests a new study.
Full Story
Antarctica region once thought stable suddenly 'thawing fast' May 22, 2:28 pm
Washington, May 22 (ANI): A group of scientists has observed a sudden increase of ice loss in a previously stable region of Antarctica.
Full Story
Paralyzed man drinks beer with robotic arm using only thoughts May 22, 2:03 pm
Washington, May 22 (ANI): A team of researchers has come up with a new kind of brain implant that senses a patient's intent to move a robotic arm, offering new promise to paralyzed people.
Full Story
Comments

LATEST STORIES
TOP VIDEO STORIES
PHOTO GALLERY