Solar-Powered Plane Soars - 3ft Above The Ground!


Word Count

240 words

Reading Level

Listen to Article

On December 17th, 1903 the Wright brothers revolutionized our world when they piloted their first powered flight that went up 20ft, lasted for 12 seconds and traveled a distance of 120ft. Now, almost 106 years later, two Swiss inventors have achieved a similar feat, with the successful maiden voyage of the world's first piloted solar-powered airplane - the Solar Impulse.

Rising just 3ft above the ground the plane managed to fly a distance of 1,150ft. in 30 seconds, before landing gracefully. While short, it was a huge achievement for inventors Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg - a giant step toward their ultimate goal of flying the plane around the world in 2012.

The 'Solar Impulse', which has a wingspan larger than that of a Boeing 747, but weighs only 3,500 pounds, is equipped with four electric motors and 890 lbs of re-chargeable lithium batteries, which will store the energy collected by the 12,000 ultra-thin film solar panels that will engulf the entire airplane.

While the test flights will be completely solar powered, this flight was powered by the electric motors, because it was largely to test if the plane can even take flight. Now that the airplane can be airborne, the duo plan on taking longer test flights,starting with an all night flight next year, as they prepare for their historic journey. To read more about this amazing aircraft and its inventors check out :,,,

Cite Article
Learn Keywords in this Article
  • Ratava99over 10 years
    No way they'd put the props and motors on the stabilizer.. The vertical and horizontal tails would have to be made so strong that they would prove too heavy t be practical for such a lightweight machine. The trailing edge of the main wing would be a superior location.
    • ivalkaover 11 years
      the next best thing since the first plane!!!!
      • PEOPLEalmost 12 years
        I DON'T GET IT?
        • meabout 12 years
          That's AWSOME!!
          • curent events sigaporealmost 13 years
            omg awsome!!
            • current events singaporealmost 13 years
              omg awesome!!
              • cool galalmost 13 years
                no offence but its an achevment most people dont think about that
                • me almost 13 years
                  ... editor?
                  • me almost 13 years
                    ask- i wonder the same thing :(
                    • me almost 13 years
                      i think an average plane can go up a little more then 3 ft, dont u think?