Mankind may be on the verge of a perpetual flight, thanks to a solar powered plane flying day and night without fuel. Solar Impulse has become the first plane in the history of solar aviation to make the longest and highest flight reaching top speeds of 75 mph.
The epic flight over the Swiss skies was fueled by solar energy harnessed by 12,000 solar cells covering the plane’s 208ft long wingspan, which powered four electric motors driving the wing mounted propellers. Solar-powered HB-SIA prototype airplane has four lithium-ion batteries to store solar energy during the day and has been built from super light-weight but extremely strong carbon fiber material. Cruising at a maximum speed of 75 mph the plane can reach maximum altitude of 39,000 ft.
According to the team co-founder Bertrand Piccard, “the first 24-hour test flight proves that the aircraft can collect enough energy from the sun during the day to stay aloft indefinitely”.
While the team aims to fly around the world, for now they have proven that emissions free travel is definitely possible.