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    • CommentAuthorbarryhall
    • CommentTimeDec 3rd 2009 edited
    Hopes that aircraft could one day be kept in the air by solar energy were boosted yesterday when a giant sun-powered plane left the ground in Switzerland on a brief maiden flight.

    The Solar Impulse, which is designed to soar across oceans using four solar-driven electric propellers, flew 350m (1,150ft) about a metre above the runway at a military aerodrome near Zurich with a German test pilot at the controls.

    Brings to mind the crystal aeroplanes in Ballard's Hello America, I thought.