It's been years since Solar Flight's Sunseeker aircraft made its way around the States, and now the company's back with a new design (the aptly named Sunseeker II) and a trans-European jaunt. The solar powered aircraft weighs a mere 506 pounds fully loaded, and measures up to twenty-three feet long. Four lithium polymer batteries provide power to an 8 horsepower motor for takeoff and climbing, and once the plane hits a cruising altitude of around 3,000 feet the solar power kicks in -- with a maximum of 40 mph (or twice that with the batteries). Of course, the silent, photovoltaic revolution probably won't be reaching commercial air travel any time soon, with battery range and weight making the enterprise impossible for all but the smallest aircraft. That said, here's hoping that the work at companies like Solar Flight paves the way for bigger and better projects in the future. Video after the break.

[Via Wired]


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Sunseeker II solar-powered plane begins its European tour