SolarStratos takes off for maiden flight

The first manned, solar powered stratospheric aircraft in history took to the skies for the first time in Payerne, Switzerland.

SolarStratos takes off for maiden flight in Payerne, Switzerland
SolarStratos’ first test flight was successful. © 2017 J. Revillard | | SolarStratos

Conditions at Payerne airport were optimal on Friday 5 May as SolarStratos was rolled out of the hangar for its inaugural flight. Test pilot Damian Hischier flew for 7 minutes at an altitude of 300 meters before landing and returning to the hangar. The test flight went off without a hitch, and the SolarStratos team will now focus on studying the results before scheduling a longer flight at higher altitude.

The initiator of this pioneering project, Raphaël Domjan, was very happy with how the plane behaved. His vision is to prove the potential of renewable energy and the importance of energy efficiency. “Electric and solar vehicles are among the major challenges of the 21st century. Our plane, which can fly at 25,000 meters, opens a window to electric and solar-powered high-altitude aviation – something that has never before been attempted. Only by flying can we work out the plane’s limits and today’s short flight was an important first step on this pathway”, he said in a press release.

SolarStratos aims to be the first manned solar-powered airplane to penetrate the stratosphere. Initial stratospheric flights are scheduled for 2018, while the first commercial flights are foreseen for 2020.

Recommend us
How should we contact you?

Premium Partner

Strategic partners

Institutional partner

Official program