Posted August 20, 2019 07:33:17The first commercial jet to fly in a solar powered aircraft has flown for the first time at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
The C-17 Globemaster will make its debut at the museum on Tuesday.
The plane, which is a replica of the aircraft built in 1937 by Lockheed, is powered by an electric motor and a hybrid battery system that uses solar energy to drive the propellers.
It has a wingspan of nearly 7.5 metres (23 feet), making it a long-range jet that is more than twice the size of a Boeing 747-400.
“It’s a very significant step forward for the future of aviation,” said Charles A. Moore, director of the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum.
“It’s one of the most ambitious solar powered aviation projects ever built.”
Moore said that although the plane has already flown for over 30 years, it has only been able to fly at altitudes of about 2,000 metres (9,000 feet).
“There’s a lot of challenges involved in this project, but it’s going to be a long, difficult journey,” he said.
The Smithsonian National Space Museum has been working on the project for more than a decade, and it has raised more than $300 million in funding to create the aircraft.
For more on the C-15 Globemasters visit the Smithsonian’s website.