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Solar Impulse completes first solar-powered international flight, Captain Piccard returns to earth

Jesse Hicks, @jhicks23
May 14, 2011
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We're big fans of charming, ungainly Solar Impulse, and of Captain Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg's quest to circumnavigate the globe in a solar-powered plane. In case you missed the live stream: the Swiss flier just got a little closer to that goal by completing its first international flight, taking off near Berne, Switzerland and landing in Brussels, Belgium, just under 13 hours later. That's half the flight time of an earlier test, in which the craft's 200-foot wingspan, covered with 12,000 photovoltaic solar cells, kept it aloft for 26 hours. Of course, a controlled test flight is one thing -- making solar-powered flight commercially viable means proving your plane can successfully navigate busy airspace. To see Solar Impulse come in for a smooth landing, peep the video after the break.




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