Saturday, April 10, 2010

Newsy: Solar Powered Plane Marks First Flight

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Solar Impulse, a solar powered aircraft, made its first successful flight in Switzerland.
Flying slowly over the Swiss countryside, the Solar Impulse completed its first solar powered flight over curious spectators. 
Its maiden voyage drew many enthusiasts who marveled at the plane's build. Some in the media are just as excited and some are a bit skeptical. NBC has more: "Flying at about the speed of a bicycle, the solar plane has a wingspan of a 737 and the weight of a small car."
"In its maiden test flight, Solar Impulse ... completed a series of turns, slip maneuvers and bank angles reaching 5 degrees."
A writer for news blog Popular Fidelity says the success of Solar Impulse in 2012 could be huge: "If successful, the widespread adoption of solar power could revolutionize mass transit as we know it."
But a report for the BBC says while the Solar Impulse may be on the fast track to success -- its impact will be slow: "Solar powered planes are unlikely to replace conventional air travel anytime soon. It flies at just 70 kilometers an hour and can carry only two people, the pilot and the co-pilot."
The flight marked a huge milestone for Bertrand Piccard, whose team spent six years building a plane they hope will travel the world in 2012. On Telegraph TV, the founders of the project say the success of the flight is important to reaching that goal: "It's important to know the exact performance of this airplane to be able to improve the design of the second one. It will be the second airplane that will fly around the world."
What kind of effect do you think the Solar Impulse will have? Will it be one for the history books or a flash in the pan?
Writer: Marlena Kopacz


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