Solar plane completes maiden flight





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Published on Jul 7, 2010

An experimental plane, powered only by rays from the sun, has landed safely in Switzerland after successfully completing its first 24-hour test flight.

The "Solar Impulse" took off on Wednesday from Payerne airfield shortly after dawn and touched down a day later having proved that overnight solar-powered flight is possible.

Clear blue skies meant that the prototype aircraft was able to soak up plenty of solar energy as it made a gradual ascent to a final altitude to 27,900 feet or 8,500 metres and then flew in darkness using energy stored up during the day.

Pilot Andre Borschberg endured freezing conditions overnight and ended the test flight with a picture-perfect landing.

Al Jazeera's Charles Stratford reports.

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