Feeds

Giant solar-powered aircraft takes to the skies

Solar Impulse sets sights on round-the-world challenge

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Swiss adventurer Bertrand Piccard today moved one step closer to fulfilling his ambition to fly a solar-powered aircraft round the world as his Solar Impulse completed its first full-fat test flight.

The Solar Impulse

The Solar Impulse boasts a wingspan as wide as a Boeing 747, with 12,000 solar cells powering four electric motors which lifted it off the runway in Payerne, Switzerland, for a one-and-a-half hour flight designed to see if the thing would actually fly in a straight line - critical for a vehicle with little power for manoeuvre.

It did, and test pilot Markus Scherdel further "completed a series of turns, building up bank angles of up to five degrees to learn more about the handling characteristics of the plane" before bringing the aircraft down for a perfect lunchtime landing.

Further flight tests will now follow leading to the construction of the final round-the-world version which Piccard and co-pilot Andre Borschberg hope will transverse the globe in 2012 at a sedate 44 mph average speed.

The trip will be divided into five stages of up to five days continual flight per hop, punctuated by rest stops along the way.

The €70m Solar Impulse project is designed "to contribute in the world of exploration and innovation to the cause of renewable energies" and "to place dream and emotion at the heart of scientific adventure".

Piccard and Borschberg certainly have the right stuff to inject a bit of adventure into the realm of scientific advancement. The former is described as a "psychiatrist and aeronaut, who made the first non-stop round-the-world balloon flight", while the latter's CV lists marks him as "an engineer and graduate in management science, a fighter pilot and a professional airplane and helicopter pilot". ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
Asteroid's SHOCK DINO MURDER SPREE just bad luck - boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.