8 Jul 2010

Solar plane makes it through the night

9:24 pm on 8 July 2010

An experimental solar-powered plane has landed in Switzerland after managing to stay in the air for about 26 hours without using fuel.

The BBC says the aircraft used cells on its wings to harness and store energy from the sun to keep it in flight, even during the hours of darkness.

The plane, named Solar Impulse, took off from near the central Swiss town of Payerne. It was flown by the project's co-founder, an engineer and former Swiss air force pilot Andre Borschberg.

The plane has 12,000 solar cells built into its 64.3 metre wings, and is a prototype for an aircraft its creators hope will carry out its first circumnavigation of the globe in two years.