Aviation News

June 27, 2011

VIDEO: Solar Impulse Aircraft Takes Flight at Paris Air Show

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By: Phil Derner Jr.
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Solar Impulse, a long-range solar powered aircraft made by a technology company in Switzerland, flew a 20-minute flight at the Paris Air Show on Sunday, wowing attendees in its first major airshow appearance.

Registered HB-SIA, the airplane has a 208-foot wingspan (same as an Airbus A340-600) and is powered by 11,628 solar cells, which gives its 4 propellers enough thrust to carry its light maximum takeoff weight of 4,400 pounds into the skies at a mere 22 miles per hour.

This current airframe is a prototype to the second aircraft which will have a pressurized cabin and advanced avionics, designed to allow the aircraft to be aloft for extended periods of time, with the intention of making the first around-the-world flight in a solar powered aircraft. This flight is expected to take place in 2012 over the course of 20-25 days.