The Solar Impulse, a solar-powered glider with a wingspan larger than that of a Boeing 787, completed its first true flight today, a major milestone in its aim to circumnavigate the globe in 2012.
In December the plane left the ground for the first time, though only for 28 seconds. Today's 90-minute adventure was its first true test flight, and its creators couldn't have been more pleased with the results. Bertrand Piccard, the founder of the Solar Impulse program, said, "Eighty-seven minutes of intense emotion after seven years of research, testing and perseverance. Never has an airplane as large and light ever flown before!"
The ultimate goal of the project, a flight around the world, is planned for 2012, but further test flights later this year will tackle the next major hurdle: flying at night. [Wired]