Wiltshire, UK - A British family has completed the world's first solar powered paramotor flight, covering 2,000km from Monaco to Morocco.
The new paramotor - a kind of powered paraglider - is roughly the size of a backpack with propellers and a parachute attached. It was powered by lithium polymer batteries, which were charged in rotation using 12 solar panels on top of a support vehicle.
The team developed a revolutionary purpose-designed out-runner brushless motor for the vehicle. Weighing only 3.8kg, it is sensor controlled for optimum performance, and drives a two-piece carbon propeller.
The team consisted of Gilo Cardozo - managing director of Parajet - his brothers Cosmo and Damian, Damian's 17-year-old daughter Tilly and five other pilots, with the rest of their families following on the ground. The team took it in turns to pilot the new vehicle on the 15-day trip, reaching a height of 5,000 feet.
The trip was organised to raise awareness of ataxia, a progressive neurological condition affecting several family members. The flight raised nearly £10,000 for Ataxia UK. "By organising fundraising events such as the Incredible Solar Electric Flight, we hope to raise awareness of ataxia and our objective of finding a cure," said Damian.