We've tracked this solar-powered tub from its announcement last year, through its first runway tests, past the little hop that counted as its first flight, and now we've arrived at the HB-SIA's first legitimate test flight. The Solar Impulse, brainchild of one Bertrand Piccard, took the upward plunge into the skies yesterday, successfully rising to 5,500 feet and a speed of 30 knots before gliding down gently and calling the whole thing an unqualified success. You can find video of the event after the break. A nighttime test flight is planned for later this year, after which a bulkier production model will be cobbled together with the intent of reaching the final goal of circumnavigating the globe by 2012.


Captain Piccard's Solar Impulse completes first full test flight, nears another frontier (video)