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21 October 2017 18:03 (South Africa)

Swiss adventurer stops talking hot air, goes for solar power

Bertrand Piccard

A latter-day Wright brother, (we guess he’s either Orville or Wilbur), said his first flight in a prototype solar-powered plane was so successful he will now try to fly around the world in 2012. The short, low altitude flight proved the prototype can fly, said Swiss adventurer Bertrand Piccard, who piloted the first hot-air balloon non-stop around the world. It’s quite a jump from a short test flight to going around the world, especially as the likes of Richard Branson and Steve Fossett tried many times, with Fossett eventually killing himself in his efforts. Piccard’s plane, called the "Solar Impulse", has the wingspan of a Boeing 747, but weighs less than a small car. It flew 350m at just one meter above the ground during its maiden flight. The next step is to attach solar panels to the aircraft for the first night flight powered by solar energy. Bon chance, Bertrand! Read more: Business Week, Wired

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