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Solar plane's first international flight

Saturday, May 14, 2011 - 01:35

May 14 - Solar powered plane completes first international flight. Andrew Raven reports.

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It might be slow and short on passenger space, but this plane could be future of air travel. It's called the Solar Impulse, and on Friday it became the first plane powered entirely by the sun to make an international flight. The plane, piloted by Andre Borshberg, chugged along at about 70km an hour during a smooth journey from Switzerland to Belgium. It touched down to raucous cheers after almost 13 hours in the air. Organizers called the flight proof that air travel can be green. Borshberg says the trip was the culmination of years of work on the Solar Impulse, whose power comes from 12,000 solar cells spread across its 63-metre wings. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SOLAR IMPULSE CO-FOUNDER OF THE PROJECT ANDRE BORSCHBERG SAYING: "I do not realise it yet. I am still in the air, not on the ground. It will come, slowly but it was really very special experience, you know to choose the destination, to say that we would land at 9, I dont know I think we landed at 9.15, something like this, that was very special." The Solar Impulse project began in 2003 and has a budget of 90 million euros. Project leaders say a larger prototype is scheduled to fly around the world in 2013. Andrew Raven, Reuters.

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Solar plane's first international flight

Saturday, May 14, 2011 - 01:35