Solar-powered airplane "Solar Impulse" attempts transcontinental flight

Photo: REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

A Solar Impulse aircraft takes off at Payerne airport May 24, 2012, piloted by André Borschberg. The Solar Impulse HB-SIA prototype aircraft, which has 12,000 solar cells built into its jumbo-jet-sized wings (about 200 feet long), attempted its first intercontinental flight from Switzerland to Morocco with a few days for a technical stop and a change of pilot in Madrid. This flight will act as a final rehearsal for the 2014 round-the-world flight.

The project website is here. More coverage: NPR, Telegraph, AP, more photos and video at MSNBC, AFP, and video from Reuters.

Follow Solar Impulse on Twitter, and pilot André Borschberg is tweeting from the skies.

Live video feed below.


  1. Going back to when lighter than air craft were the new technology, I’d like to recommend “Slide Rule: Autobiography of an Engineer by Nevil Shute”; it’s excellent. If you can imagine climbing the skin and making repairs in flight, this is for you.

  2. Truly an amazing attempted feat, never before done. History and who knows what else can come from this.  

    Also amazing, while this significant story is over looked, the preceeding story about some “MUD” captivates over 122 comments. True a knee-jerk society we become.  

    1. Maybe more awestruck than knee-jerk. Not much to criticize or mock in great engineering feats.

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