Solar Impulse Gets Sun On Its Wings, Turns Props

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Solar Impulse, the solar powered aircraft whose developers hope to fly around the world, has been getting out of the hangar recently and getting the juice flowing through its electric motors. The most recent excursion last Wednesday was captured (and nicely narrated) by AVweb reader Thomas Netter, who lives about 20 minutes from Dubendorf Airfield where the huge high-aspect-ratio flying wing is being built. According to the Solar Impulse project's Web site, the excursion was aimed at testing the effect of the electric motors on the aircraft's electronics, a test the builders say went well, along with giving onlookers a pretty good look at the aircraft in operation.

Project member Andre Borschberg, who writes a blog on the ambitious project, says the builders are now getting a sense of what they're undertaking as the aircraft gets sun on its wings. "These excursions out of the hangar mean that we can really start getting to grips with our solar airplane, continually gaining a better understanding of how it functions," he wrote. "Just a few more screws to be turned and it will be ready to taxi along the runway by itself. New emotions are on the horizon!"