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Solar plane to take off on world tour in 2011

'Solarimpulse,' has been dubbed a revolutionary project in the field of aviation. Official photo

JAIPUR (PTI): 'Solarimpulse,' a solar plane, dubbed as a revolutionary project in the field of aviation, will have its first test flight in April next year in Switzerland.

Besides, the microlight-like plane is scheduled to take off for a round-the-world flight in May 2011, the projectís communication head Phil Mundwiller said here on Sunday. There would be a world trip in five legs starting with crossing the US and the Atlantic.

The pollution-free plane would fly with zero fuel on the strength of solar power both day and night, whose prototype was displayed here as part of the 60th ceremony of India-Switzerland Friendship Treaty.

Mundwiller said two aircraft with an investment of $100 million are being designed by a team of 60 engineers. Its commercial production is expected to start by 2011.

The single-pilot plane is based on innovative techniques in terms of aerodynamics, structure, construction methods and propulsion.

The plane aims to demonstrate the immense potential of renewable energy by flying day and night using no fuel and creating no pollution, said the official.

The undersides of the wings are covered with flexible film and the upper surface with a skin of encapsulated solar cells. It has a 61-metre wingspan for improved aerodynamics, Mundwiller said.

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