When the Wright brothers first tried to create a vehicle that could take flight the world laughed at them. No one is laughing at these amazing inventors now. Instead, people are laughing a little bit at the plans of Bertrand Piccard to invent a plane that can fly usingsolar power. It won't be too long before these people are also hanging their heads in shame because the first prototype for the plane recently made a successful little flight. Although we're probably a long ways away from a time when jumbo jets are flying around the world using only the power of the sun, it's not such a far-fetched idea when you look at how far we've already come with both solar power and flight technology.
Bertrand Piccard is a name that you might have heard mentioned at some point in the past. That is because this man made headlines as the first man to circumnavigate the globe in a hot air balloon. Now he's planning to take his in-flight explorations one step further by creating a solar-powered airplane named The Solar Impulse. He hopes to be able to take a transatlantic flight with this solar-powered plane by 2012. Get more information on solar panels.
The first step of this job has been completed. Bertrand Piccard did manage to get this plane airborne recently. This maiden journey may seem like not a big deal to some people. After all, the plane only got one meter off the ground and only flew for a distance of 350 meters. Nevertheless, that's a big leap in solar powered transportation. It's the first time that an aircraft of a rather large size has been able to lift off of the ground using such little energy. If you think about the first flights of the Wright brothers then you realize that getting off the ground is the biggest part of the battle.
Piccard and the developers that he is working with are continuing to make progress on this technology. The next testing will take place in Western Switzerland at Payerne Air Force Base. It is believed that the plane will be able to get up to 9000 meters by the time that testing takes place. The plane flies using on-board solar batteries. This technology will have to be improved if Piccard is ever going to circumnavigate the globe in a solar-powered plane but it looks like it's a definite possibility for his future. And it's a big development in the future of solar power.