May 14, 2011 in Nation/World

Solar-powered plane logs 13 hours in flight

Associated Press photo

Solar Impulse lands at Brussels International Airport after its first international flight from Switzerland on Friday.
(Full-size photo)

ZURICH – A solar-powered aircraft landed in Brussels, Belgium, on Friday night after completing a 13-hour maiden international voyage from western Switzerland.

The Solar Impulse, a project of the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, traveled across France and Luxembourg after taking off from the Payerne military airfield.

The plane was greeted by several hundred onlookers when it landed shortly after 9:30 p.m. local time at Zaventem airport in Brussels.

From Brussels, the Solar Impulse is to fly to Paris-Le Bourget, where it will be shown at the Paris Air Show, which runs June 20-26.

The aircraft is a project being promoted by Swiss aviator Bertrand Piccard, who was aboard the first balloon to circumnavigate the globe.

The Solar Impulse has a wingspan of 64 meters, although it weighs only about 1.7 tons. The wings house around 12,000 solar cells that power propellers on the wings.

It travels at a speed of 43 miles per hour.

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