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Solar aircraft makes successful test flight in Switzerland

Published on Jun 2, 2014 5:48 PM
 
The solar-powered Solar Impulse 2 experimental aircraft takes off during its maiden flight at its base in Payerne on June 2, 2014. A sun-powered plane made a successful test flight in Switzerland on Monday, clearing a vital hurdle towards its goal of a round-the-world trip next year, its pilot said. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

PAYERNE, Switzerland (AFP) - A sun-powered plane made a successful test flight in Switzerland on Monday, clearing a vital hurdle towards its goal of a round-the-world trip next year, its pilot said.

Solar Impulse 2 carried out a flight lasting two hours and 15 minutes, half an hour longer than scheduled, he said.

"Everything worked as expected," German pilot Markus Scherdel told a press conference in Payerne, central Switzerland. "Of course, we have to do more testing, but it's a good start and I'm looking forward to flying the airplane the next time," he said.

Built from carbon fibre, the 2.3-tonne plane has four electrical motors powered by 17,248 solar cells studding its fuselage and 72-metre wingspan.

 
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