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8 July 2010
PAYERNE, Switzerland -- This was not supposed to happen!
The plane is powered by 12,000 solar cells, every one of which will stop producing power if the sun goes down. "What are we gonna do now?" asked anguished pilot Andre Borschberg. The crew, luckily still in radio contact with the base station, discussed energy-saving strategies such as turning off the plane's lights, ceasing to operate the blender to make Margaritas, and pushing the twelve publicists and journalists overboard.
Engineers on the ground vetoed the idea of landing the plane, which is in a 24-hour demonstration. They insisted that the Solar Impulse proves that 'round-the-clock, energy-efficient transportation is feasible. The airplane uses no off-board energy at all, although enough energy is used to produce the solar cells to cause the death of fifteen emaciated African infants, and the project cost of $95 million could have kept a Cessna full of aviation fuel for about two millennia.
The project team will now build a second model that will be more efficient while offering full stewardess service. Ticketed international flights are to begin in 2013. Al Gore said his carbon credit business will diversify into flight certificates. These will let celebrities and wealthy socialites claim to be solar fliers, while in fact merely paying someone else to do the flying.