Solar Impulse, a fully solar-powered airplane has completed the world’s first international solar-powered flight. After a flight lasting 12 hours 59 minutes at an altitude of 12,400 feet, using no fuel and propelled by solar energy alone, Solar Impulse HB-SIA landed safely in Brussels, Belgium.
After the landing, plane’s co-founder Bertrand Piccard said:
Our goal is to create a revolution in the minds of the people . . . to promote solar energies — not necessarily a revolution in aviation.
Compared with 2003, energy efficiency has increased from 16 to 22 percent. And the cells are now half as thick.
Solar Impulse has more than 12,000 solar cells(150 microns thick), a wingspan of 208 feet and it is about 1,600 kg in weight.
The project has a total cost of $88 million which is funded by mostly-Swiss partners and public donations.