Flight through the night with no fuel
A Swiss pilot and entrepreneur has successfully completed the world’s first solar-powered flight. André Borschberg of the Swiss company Solar Impulse stayed airborne with no fuel for 26 hours, several of them through the night, earlier this month.
‘Just sitting there and watching the battery charge level rise and rise thanks to the sun,’ said Borschberg, ‘and then that suspense, not knowing whether we were going to manage to stay up in the air the whole night. And finally the joy of seeing the sun rise and feeling the energy beginning to circulate in the solar panels again – it was an extraordinary night.’ The initiative contrasts starkly with developments in commercial aircraft, which have not improved their fuel efficiency in the past 10 years.
T&E’s Bill Hemmings said, ‘It’s an inspiring story, that hopefully will raise the debate on a meaningful CO2 standard for aircraft which really changes the way they are designed and built.’