- Title: SWITZERLAND: Solar-powered aeroplane "Solar Impulse" takes to the skies
- Date: 8th April 2010
- Summary: PAYERNE, SWITZERLAND (APRIL 7, 2010) (REUTERS) SOLAR IMPULSE PLANE IN HANGAR BEFORE THE TEST FLIGHT SOLAR IMPULSE TECHNICIANS DOING LAST MINUTE CHECK UPS ON PLANE ANDRE BORSCHBERG, SWISS PILOT AND CO-INITIATOR OF THE SOLAR IMPULSE PROJECT WITH SWISS ADVENTURER AND PILOT BERTRAND PICCARD, ADDRESSING THE MEDIA BEFORE THE TEST FLIGHT SWISS ADVENTURER BERTRAND PICCARD, CO-INITIATOR OF THE SOLAR IMPULSE PROJECT TALKING TO THE PRESS BEFORE THE TAKE OFF VARIOUS OF THE SOLAR IMPULSE PLANE BEING BROUGHT ONTO THE RUNWAY (4 SHOTS) MEDIA WAITING FOR THE TAKE OFF BY THE RUNWAY HELICOPTER MONITORING TAKE OFF ZOOM OUT ON SOLAR IMPULSE PLANE TAKING OFF ZOOM OUT ON SOLAR IMPULSE PLANE FLYING PHOTOGRAPHERS VARIOUS OF SOLAR IMPULSE PLANE FLYING (3 SHOTS) PHOTOGRAPHERS SOLAR IMPULSE AIRPLANE LANDING PHOTOGRAPHERS BERTRAND PICCARD ON THE TARMAC WITH THE PILOT WHO ACCOMPLISHED THE TEST FLIGHT, MARKUS SCHERDEL ZOOM OUT FROM PICCARD, SCHERDEL AND ANDRE BORSCHBERG TO THE ENTIRE SOLAR IMPULSE TEAM CHEERING ON THE TARMAC WITH THE SOLAR IMPULSE AIRPLANE BEHIND SCHERDEL, PICCARD AND BORSCHBERG IN THE NEWS BRIEFING (SOUNDBITE) (English) SWISS PILOT AND CO-INITIATOR OF THE SOLAR IMPULSE PROJECT ANDRE BORSCHBERG SAYING: "We will continue the test flights, the important thing is to know the exact performance of this aeroplane to be able to improve the design of the second one. It will be the second aeroplane that will fly around the world." JOURNALISTS (SOUNDBITE) (French) SWISS ADVENTURER AND CO-INITIATOR OF THE SOLAR IMPULSE PROJECT BERTRAND PICCARD "For the history of aviation it's not an important step yet because the goal is really to fly night and day without fuel with this aeroplane to demonstrate the potential of renewable energy. But for Solar Impulse, it's a milestone, it's the moment we were able to verify that everything our team has done in the past seven years was right." SOLAR IMPULSE AIRPLANE FLYING
- Embargoed: 23rd April 2010 13:00
- Location: Switzerland
- Country: Switzerland
- Topics: Science / Technology,Transport
- Reuters ID: LVAET92EV1IOZ70JZGUCTRF3QWZ3
- Story Text: A solar-powered aeroplane designed to fly day and night without fuel or emissions made its first test flight above the Swiss countryside on Wednesday (April 7), making the around-the-world dream of two Swiss adventurers possible.
The Solar Impulse, which has 12,000 solar cells built into its wings, is a prototype for an aircraft intended to fly around the world without fuel from 2012 to promote renewable energy.
It glided for 90 minutes above western Switzerland at an altitude of 1,000 metres, with German test pilot Markus Scherdel at the controls.
"For the history of aviation it's not an important step yet because the goal is really to fly night and day without fuel with this aeroplane to demonstrate the potential of renewable energy. But for Solar Impulse, it's a milestone, it's the moment we were able to verify that everything our team has done in the past seven years was right," Bertrand Piccard, one of the two main pilots behind the project, told Reuters at the revolutionary aircraft's base in Payerne.
Piccard, a Swiss psychiatrist turned aviator, is best known for completing the first non-stop, round-the-world flight in a hot-air balloon in March 1999.
It took six years to built the carbon fibre aircraft, which has the wingspan of an Airbus A340 (63.4 metres) and weighs as much as a mid-size car (1,600 kilos).
The other main pilot, Swiss engineer Andre Borschberg, has described it as "ten times lighter than the very best glider".
"We will continue the test flights, the important thing is to know the exact performance of this aeroplane to be able to improve the design of the second one. It will be the second aeroplane that will fly around the world", Borschberg said after the flight.
Photovoltaic or solar cells supply four electric motors with a maximum output of 10 horsepower each. The plane is ultimately expected to attain an average flying speed of 70 kilometres per hour and reach a maximum altitude of 8,500 metres (27,900 feet).
Swiss astronaut and pilot Claude Nicollier, who has flown on NASA missions, is head of test flights.
The project's budget is 100 million Swiss francs, 80 million of which has been secured from sponsors, according to spokeswoman Rachel de Bros.
Belgian chemicals company Solvay <SOLB.BR>, Swiss watchmaker Omega, part of the Swatch <UHR.VX> group, and German banking giant Deutsche Bank <DBKGn.DE>, are the three main sponsors.
Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), one of two prestigious Swiss federal polytechnical universities, is scientific advisor.
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