Solar Impulse Makes First International Flight (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

by Kate Auletta Subscribe to Kate Auletta's posts Posted May 13th 2011 08:30 AM



The flight is a first for the aircraft, which made its maiden voyage in 2009. The plane completed a non-stop 26-hour flight that proved that the plane can stay aloft at night.

Back in April, it was reported that the flight would occur on May 2nd. At the time, the team was concerned about crossing international air networks and was awaiting final approval from authorities.

The plane, amazingly, has the wingspan of a Boeing 777.

WATCH the flight take off earlier on Friday below. (Hint: It's super cool to watch.)

And check out photos of the aircraft below.

Filed Under: Air Travel, News, Video, EcoTravel

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The technology demonstrated on this airplane could lead to commercial aircraft using solar panels to power their secondary and backup systems. I believe an electrical engineer could incorporate this into the jet engine system to increase fuel efficiency.

May 13 2011 at 1:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The University of Michigan has discovered a way to create solar power without having a conductor such as silenium or silicon, which is going to dramatically drop the cost of solar cells. It actually may be affordable to put solar panels on your roof to power your house. Let us hope that ComEd or some other company doesn't step in and buy up the patent.

May 13 2011 at 1:33 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Giant step backwards. How many children go hungry while earth worshipers piss away money on doomed technology. Solar cells?... Really?...Ten years after the Wright Brothers first flight there were Airlines forming with real planes. Solar cells have changed very little in the last 40 years. Unlike the Wright Brothers GOOD idea that took off :) solar cells still suck.

May 13 2011 at 12:43 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to dgudmundse's comment
Robert Branscomb

I suppose you still have a dial up modem and rotary frined you are stuck in time..
years from now kids will wonder why it took so long for us to stop using coal and oil..

May 13 2011 at 1:54 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Robert Branscomb's comment

I am sure that enlightened Robert has turned his back to all things Oil. HA HA. The very computer you are using is made from oil products. Oil works my friend. You prove it every day by using it and surrounding your smug self with all it can do. Hypocrite Bob, the smartest psudointelectual in the room, LOL

May 13 2011 at 8:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
Jean-Paul J

“The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.” — Charles F Kettering. Some day, we're going to have to change our ways and wean ourselves off oil (or the supply will just run out) — this is the first step forward that we need to bring about real change in order for humanity to progress. Decidedly, you don't seem particularly interested in what we can do to shape the future.

May 26 2011 at 5:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Very cool.

"Do not despise small beginnings..." --Jeremiah

May 13 2011 at 12:43 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I had to chuckle a bit to watch just how slowly this bird flew. However, that does not take awayu one bit from my AWE at this stunning technical achievement! SOLAR powered flight!?!?!?! Amazing. The plane is so graceful, and "elegant" in concept as well as design. I hope for more scientific triumps like this. It is a fitting chapter in the history of human flight.

May 13 2011 at 12:04 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Well it's interesting to watch. It'd be interesting to know what they actually learn from it or what technology develops as a result. Reminds me of back in the 80's when Rutan flew around the world on one tank of gas although I'm not sure that went anywhere

May 13 2011 at 12:01 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Alison PS

The Right brothers' plane was slow, it only flew for a couple of minutes. Why did they even bother?

Also-- America falls behind again.

May 13 2011 at 11:19 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Alison PS's comment

You fell when you tried to take your first steps.....why did you even bother?

May 13 2011 at 11:49 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

At lease someone is trying. Thats what is wrong with the world now. A little more trying and alot less bitching.

May 13 2011 at 11:18 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

@ Me
The point is to do and learn. Do you understand the concept. That bein said it didnt come out of your pocket and dam for certin didnt come from your piss ant sized brain. All you have the capasity for is to Trolling on the Web and be a nussance. This is a great accomplishment. Solor Powered passenger flight. Drop fossile fuel chugging 45% efficent suck squeeze burn blow turbine engines. The tech could lead to ducted fan elec turbine. I do agree the solor panels need to be tweeked to put out more but thats why you do these things.

May 13 2011 at 10:08 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

At that speed cross country would take weeks. I think the Wright Brothers plane was faster.
What happens at night or storm clouds? Give me a jet any day.

May 13 2011 at 9:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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