Yesterday we had an interesting solar powered lantern, but now we’re upping the scale with a solar powered plane! The Solar Impulse had its first flight today in Switzerland, getting 5,500 feet of altitude and doing test maneuvers that went off without a hitch. In specs, the plane’s wingspan is a little over sixty meters long, covered in 12,000 solar cells that power the 40 hp engine, getting to an average speed of 44 mph.
The flight lasted 87 minutes, filled with sharp turns, bank angles, and the crucial take off and landing. This is the first step in a planned around the world-flight scheduled for 2012. Before that, a 36 hour flight is planned. Way cool.