Solar-Powered Plane Completes First International Flight

by  Molly Fergus | May 16, 2011
Plane / Biletskiy_Evgeniy/iStock

A little more than one year after its maiden voyage, the Solar Impulse has successfully crossed international borders, reports Reuters.

The exclusively solar-powered plane flew its first international route from Western Switzerland to Brussels on Friday, marking another milestone in the search for pollution-free air travel. The aircraft, which uses 12,000 solar panels to generate power, has taken off five times since its inaugural flight in April 2010, including one 26-hour journey in July.

The project, which began in 2003, is easily one of the most ambitious of its kind. This year, the team plans to release a plane capable of flying across the Atlantic; as early as 2013, a solar-powered machine could make a trip around the world.

Even so, don’t expect sunbeam-powered planes to taxi at your local airport anytime soon: Traveling at 44 miles per hour, the Solar Impluse’s flight from Western Switzerland to Brussels took more than half a day; a fossil fuel-fed jet speeds up to 440 miles per hour and soars from Geneva to Brussels in less than one hour.

Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on flights, hotels, packages, and more travel deals.

Up next...

Road Less Traveled Finds Teens and Families Volunteering on Vacation

Find The Best Cruises
Find a cruise

Find the best deals!

Click on multiple sites to get the lowest prices

Click on multiple sites to get the lowest prices