An experimental solar-powered plane has landed safely after completing its first 24-hour test flight. The record feat brings it one step closer to the makers’ ultimate aim of circling the globe using only energy from the sun. The prototype four-engine aircraft was steered by Andre Borschberg, a former fighter jet pilot from Switzerland.
The plane with its 207-foot (63-meter) wingspan touched down at Payerne airfield about 31 miles (50 kilometers) southwest of the Swiss capital Bern at 9 a.m. (0700 GMT; 3 a.m. EDT) Thursday.
The Solar Impulse team says the plane’s 12,000 solar cells managed to store enough energy during the day to last through the night. They say that proves the plane can stay in the air non-stop around the clock.