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Posted Sun Jun 14 2009: from Economist:
Flying for ever
...Solar-powered aircraft have flown before. The pioneer was Paul MacCready, whose Gossamer Penguin made the first manned flight in 1980 in California, with his then 13-year-old son at the controls. A derivative, Solar Challenger, crossed the English Channel in 1981. But nothing like HB-SIA, as the Swiss aircraft is known, has ever taken to the air. If it works as expected, another version will be built and this will take off, climb to 10,000 metres and, by storing some of the electricity generated during the day, continue flying through the night. Its pilots, Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg, plan to cross the Atlantic in it and later to fly it around the world.... The wings of this aircraft are almost as big as those of an airliner, but they are covered in a film of solar cells that convert sunlight into electricity to drive its engines.
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'Doc Jim says:
Just so the cells aren't affixed with wax!

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