Solar plane takes off

2011-05-13 12:36

Geneva - A Swiss solar-powered plane has taken off for its first international flight.

The Solar Impulse team behind the project plans to fly the experimental aircraft to Belgium and France.

The single-seat prototype took off from Payerne airfield in Switzerland at 08:40 (06:40 GMT) on Friday and is expected to reach Brussels airport by nightfall.

The plane with the wingspan of a Boeing 777 made its 2009 maiden flight in Switzerland and further tests have all taken place there.

The flight across France, Luxembourg and Belgium poses a fresh challenge as it requires navigation across international air traffic networks.