A solar-powered plane has become the first to complete a 24-hour flight, using batteries charged during the day to keep it aloft overnight.
The Solar Impulse aircraft touched down on runway at Payerne airfield, Switzerland at exactly 8:00am.
Helpers rushed to stabilize the pioneering plane as it touched down, ensuring that its massive 207-foot (63-meter) wingspan didn’t touch the ground and topple the craft….
The team behind the project says it has now shown the single-seat plane can theoretically stay in the air indefinitely, recharging its batteries using 12,000 solar cells.
Pilot Andre Borschberg had flown over the Jura mountains west of the Swiss Alps since daybreak yesteray, absorbing sunlight to charge the batteries.
“Nothing can prevent us from another day and night… and the myth of perpetual flight,” an Mr Piccard told journalists, noting that the airline had three hours’ flight time left when the sun rose.
“When you took off it was another era,” added adventurer Bertrand Piccard, who co-founded the project with Mr Borschberg. “You land in a new era where people understand that with renewable energy you can do impossible things.”
The single-seater plane is powered by four electric motors and propellers. It weighs about the same as a small car, despite having a 207 foot wingspan, similiar to a large commercial jet.