Solar Powered plane stays airborne for 26 hours
by Mark R
Some of you might remember when we first brought up the Solar Impulse and how it succeeded in making an 87-minute long flight at 5,000 feet. I’ve just learned that the Solar Impulse has completed a 26-hour flight, and it reached an altitude of 28,543 feet.
I believe that I reported a few months ago that they were hoping for a 36 hour flight as part of their next stop, and I am not certain if this last flight exceeds or lowers expectations.
Some of you are probably wondering how the Solar Impulse could achieve its historic flight of 26 hours when there isn’t 26 hours of sun on any given day. The answer is simple: batteries. I’m not certain if these batteries were charged before or during the flight, though.
Either way, it proves that solar power is a definite power source for the airways, which could change just about everything! Assuming that the program is still on track, there is a plan to get the Solar Impulse around the world in 2012.
Of course, you realize that the Solar Impulse is a light plane with 12,000 solar cells, and a jumbo jet would be a whole lot heavier. In other words, there is a whole lot of bugs to be worked out before we flying a solar-powered friendly skies.