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Fri 9 Jul 2010 04:13 PM

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Solar plane completes 24-hr test flight

Solar plane completes 24-hr test flight
Solar Impulse's Chief Executive Officer and pilot Andre Borschberg fly in the solar-powered HB-SIA prototype airplane during its first successful night flight attempt at Payerne airport July 8, 2010. The aircraft took off July 7 at 06:51 am and reached an altitude of 8,700 meters (28,543 feet) by the end of the day. It then slowly descent to 1,500 meters (4,921 feet) and flew during the night on the batteries, charged during the day by 12,000 solar cells, which powered the four electric motors. (Getty Images)
Solar plane completes 24-hr test flight
Solar Impulse's Chief Executive Officer and pilot Andre Borschberg reacts after landing 'Solar Impulse' experimental solar-powered aircraft in a successfully first round-the-clock flight attempt on July 8, 2010 at Payerne airbase. An experimental solar powered aircraft landed in Switzerland at 9.01 am (0701 GMT), after completing a historic flight lasting some 26 hours. (Getty Images)
Solar plane completes 24-hr test flight


Solar Impulse's Chief Executive Officer and pilot Andre Borschberg fly over the Neuchatel lake in the solar-powered HB-SIA prototype airplane after its first successful night flight attempt at Payerne airport July 8, 2010. (Getty Images)
Solar plane completes 24-hr test flight
Solar Impulse was attempting the first such manned flight on purely solar energy, defying the hours of darkness to keep aloft for a day and a night. (Getty Images)
Solar plane completes 24-hr test flight


Solar Impulse's team chief Bertrand Piccard (L) and Solar Impulse's Chief Executive Officer and pilot Andre Borschberg celebrate after landing 'Solar Impulse' experimental solar-powered aircraft in a successfully first round-the-clock flight attempt on July 8, 2010 at Payerne airbase. (Getty Images)