Could solar-powered planes be a thing of the now?
On Friday, a plane powered by the sun’s rays landed in from Japan after a record breaking five-day journey across the Pacific Ocean.
Pilot Andre Borschberg flew his single-seat aircraft, called Solar Impulse 2, for 120 hours and broke the record for the world’s longest nonstop solo flight. Borschberg’s team said he flew the aircraft without using any fuel but, instead its wings were equipped with 17,000 solar cells that charged batteries. As far as flying during the night, the plane ran on stored energy.
The carbon-fiber plane’s flight speed is only about 28 mph but can double during the day when sun’s rays are strongest. Solar-powered air travel is not yet commercially practical, given the slow travel time, weather and weight constraints of the aircraft. It would be interesting enough if one day, there will be commercial solar-powered flights available to passengers.