Solar-powered aircraft

Solar Impulse in flight

Solar-powered aircraft touches down in New York City

An aeroplane powered entirely by the sun has touched down in New York City, completing the final leg of an epic two-month journey across the United States.

A year ago it flew from Spain to Morocco to claim the title of first solar-powered intercontinental plane, but in reality that was a much smaller achievement since the distance was so much shorter. (When you think about it, the shortest possible intercontinental flight is probably ten metres or so from Africa to Asia, or a hop along the bridge between Europe and Asia over the Bosphorus. But hey, it made a good headline.)

More seriously, the Solar Impulse is an excellent demonstration project, like (for instance) the Australian solar car challenge, and it’s great to see its success. Perhaps we should have a solar plane race to push the technology ahead even faster?

More: abc news, UN press release

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