Solar Challenger was a solar-powered electric aircraft designed by Paul
MacCready‘s AeroVironment. It was powered entirely by the photovoltaic
cells on its wing and stabilizer, without even reserve batteries, and was
the first such craft capable of long-distance flight. In 1981, it successfully
completed a 163 mile demonstration flight from France to England, staying
aloft 5 hours and 23 minutes, with pilot Stephen Ptacek behind the stick.