Le Bourget (Paris): Fighter jets and commercial aircraft may have roared over the skyline most of the time during the Air Show here but it was the Swiss solar- powered plane Solar Impulse which was the star attraction of the world's largest aviation and space industry event.

Billed as "next big thing" in aviation sector, the Solar Impulse is the first of its kind of aircraft in the world which is capable of flying day and night using solar energy.
   
The technological marvel received maximum attraction from the stake holders -- be it plane makers, experts, airlines bosses or journalists at the seven-day air show which concluded today.

The aircraft, which has wingspan of an Airbus A340 passenger jet, does not use a single drop of hydrocarbon fuel and its current flying speed is 70km per hour.

The aircraft had made its first international flight on May 13 this year and came to Paris flying 636 nautical-mile from Brussels last week.

Bertrand Piccard, president of the Solar Impulse project, said the technology used in the aircraft can be the answer for cutting down on use of fossil fuel and moving onto to next level of technology.

"The aeroplane can fly with no fuel at all. It canload its batteries during the day with solar energy; use them at night to reach the next sun rise and continue the next day and may be continue so many days and nights that it can even fly around the world one day," said Piccard.

He said the technology developed by the Solar Impulse has proved that "we do not need as much fossil energy as we think." Upbeat over the future of the plane, Solar Impulse's CEO Andre Borschberg said that it may take many many years for introduction of solar energy in passenger aircraft but noted
that an important beginning has been made in this ambitious direction.

"When the Wright brothers did the first flight in 1903, it took then 25 years for (Charles) Lindberg to be able to cross the Atlantic for the first time. It took another 25 years to transport 100 passengers across the Atlantic as
well," said Borschberg.

The technology may not be ready in the next five years for use in passenger aircraft, but it is certainly going to be used one day, he added.

Lindbergh had taken the famoussolo non-stop flight on May 20–21, 1927, from Roosevelt Field in New York's Long Island to Le Bourget in Paris, covering a distance of nearly 5,800 km on a single-seat, single-engine plane.

The new plane makers are planning to make a non-stop flying around the world in the Solar Impulse in the year 2014.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, while speaking at the opening ceremony of the air show, referred to Solar Impulse, saying "these are the wings of the future" and then went on to impress upon the aeronautical industry the need for innovation.
   
The Paris Air Show which opened on June 20 came to a close today.
 
(Agrencies)