Parachutist Makes World’s First Jump From Solar-Powered Plane
SportsReuters

PAYERNE, Switzerland—A parachutist completed the world’s first jump from a solar-powered aircraft on Tuesday after the plane soared to a height of nearly 5,000 feet over western Switzerland, Swiss organizers said.

The two-seater prototype plane made the test flight in good weather and to promote renewable energy. Parachutist Raphael Domjan reached a speed of 93 mph during his jump, landing near the project base in Payerne.

Raphael Domjan jumps from the SolarStratos
Swiss adventurer Raphael Domjan jumps from the SolarStratos solar-powered aircraft prototype with Spanish test pilot Miguel A. Iturmendi aboard, at the airbase in Payerne, Switzerland, on Aug. 25, 2020. (Laurent Gillieron via Reuters)

“Today there were many firsts but the most important is [this is] the first time ever that someone jumped from an electric aircraft. And this is something that is changing the future for this sport for sky divers,” said Domjan, the instigator of the SolarStratos project and who co-piloted the plane.

“It was the first time we did a solar skydive, I climbed with the energy coming from the solar cells of the plane,” he said.

Raphael Domjan reacts upon landing after he jumped
Project instigator Raphael Domjan reacts upon landing after he jumped with a parachute from the SolarStratos aircraft, a solar-powered two-seater aircraft, in Payerne, Switzerland, on Aug. 25, 2020. (Denis Balibouse via Reuters)

In 2022, the team aims to carry out a high-altitude flight powered exclusively by solar energy, seeking to reach the stratosphere with an altitude of 65,000 feet.

By Denis Balibouse and Stephanie Nebehay