The Solar Impulse has already made it in the Stuff Cool List 2012, so what more could it possibly want? Setting the world record for the farthest solar powered flight, apparently.
The Solar Impulse, a carbon fibre plane as wide as an Airbus A340 but as light as an Audi A6, has been flown by its creator Bertrand Piccard since May 24th on its 2012 Crossing Frontiers mission. It has been flying near-500-mile flights – including the world’s first intercontinental solar powered flight from Madrid to Morocco – totaling 6000km when it will land in Payerne, Switzerland, later today.
The Solar Impulse has set the record for longest solar powered flight using its four 10bhp engines and formidable 12,000 photovoltaic panels that store power in its 400kg of lithium batteries. That means it's currently cruising at around 50kph at a a height of just over 3000m. You can follow all the stats – including live GPS tracking – on the Solar Impulse website.
Impressive as the Solar Impulse record-breaking flying effort has been, it’s all just a dress rehearsal for a planned flight around the world soon. We'll keep you up to speed.
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