The Solar Impulse aircraft is about to begin its Pacific crossing. Does this project represent any useful technological advances?
Although it’s sometimes derided as a vanity project, the Solar Impulse aircraft received strong support from the 402 respondents to our poll. The largest group, 47 per cent, thought it was a useful way to encourage development of photovoltaic technology, while 32 per cent thought there were practical applications for solar-powered aircraft themselves. Only 4 per cent thought there were no practical applications at all, while 14 per cent thought that while there might not be immediate practical applications, it might be useful for attracting young people into engineering.