WATCH ABOVE: Solar Impulse 2 takes to the sky.
TORONTO – Solar Impulse 2, a solar-powered aircraft, had a successful inaugural flight on Monday over Payerne, Switzerland.
The aircraft, created by Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, was flown by a test pilot for two hours and 17 minutes.
“This inaugural flight is an important stage — a step closer towards the round-the-world flight,” said André Borschberg, Solar Impulse Co-founder, CEO and pilot, in a press release. “It is also a huge emotional step for the entire team and all our partners who have worked on the aircraft.”
The plane has been updated following an earlier prototype that took to the sky about five years ago.
Solar Impulse 2 is designed to fly without fuel or polluting emissions, and can fly day or night.
The plane is a single-seater made of carbon fibre. It has a 72-metre wingspan which is longer than that of the 747-8I. It weighs 2,300 kg — no more than a large car. It is powered by 17,000 solar cells built into the wing which provide energy to four electric motors.