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Damian Hischier

Stratospheric solar plane makes first test flight

PAYERNE, SWITZERLAND: The first solar plane aimed at reaching the stratosphere made an initial low-altitude test flight over Switzerland Friday. The SolarStratos, a super-light, sleek, white two-seater aircraft with long wings covered with solar panels, took off from Payerne at 8:00 am (0600 GMT), according to an AFP photographer at the airbase in western Switzerland. "The maiden flight of the prototype ... went off without a hitch," the SolarStratos team said in a statement. Pilot Damian Hischier took the craft for…