|An example of solar-powered flight, NASA's Helios
aircraft flew almost
one hundred years after the Wright brothers'
historic flight on December 17, 1903.
Pictured here at 3,000 meters in
in skies northwest of
Hawaii, USA in August 2001,
the remotely piloted Helios is traveling at about 40 kilometers per hour.
ultralight flying wing with 14 electric motors, the aircraft was built by
Covered with solar cells,
impressive 247 foot wide wing
exceeded the wing span and even overall length of a
Climbing during daylight hours,
the prototype aircraft
reached an altitude just short of 30,000 meters, breaking
records for non-rocket
Helios was intended as a
technology demonstrator, but
in the extremely thin air 30,000 meters above Earth's surface, the flight
of Helios also
flight in the
Carla Thomas, courtesy