The maiden flight of Solar Impulse 2 took place on Monday morning at Payerne aerodrome in Switzerland. The solar-powered aircraft took off at 5:36 AM CET, when the weather around the aerodrome was at its calmest, with pilot Markus Scherdel at the controls. The aircraft flew for two hours and 17 minutes, reaching an altitude of 1,670 m (5,500 ft) and a ground speed of 55.6 km/h (30 kt). According to Solar Impulse, the in-flight data indicates that the aircraft slated to make the first all-solar global circumnavigation flight performed to expectations.
Following in the wake of the Solar Impulse that completed a transcontinental flight in 2012 and multi-stage flight across the US last year, Solar Impulse 2 is an experimental single-seater aircraft built by the Solar Impulse company founded by psychiatrist and explorer Bertrand Piccard and engineer and entrepreneur André Borschberg. It will be used by Piccard and Borschberg for their attempt at the first solar-powered flight around the world in 2015, and its designers also regard it as a flying laboratory for testing new technologies.