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First take-off for solar aircraft

A prototype of Switzerland's Solar Impulse aircraft has completed its first test flight.

Swiss adventurer Bertrand Piccard plans to make the first ever sun-powered global flight with the plane.

In the trial, a test pilot took the aircraft up to take off speed, just one metre off the ground for a distance of 350 metres at the Dübendorf airfield near Zurich.

Piccard said this marked the completion of the first phase of the project, confirming their choice of technical equipment. The next phase will be proper test flights in 2010. Solar panels have yet to be connected to the craft.

Piccard later remarked: “It’s a long way between these initial tests and a circumnavigation of the world.”

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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