Canadian company SolarShip has successfully flown a new concept of aircraft.
By combining some flight characteristics of an airplane and lighter than air blimps, plus solar power, the Solarship (same name as the company) is a hybrid air vehicle capable of carrying substantial loads great distances. It only requires a runway of around 100 meters. The first test flights (see video) show a rather cumbersome and unwieldy craft, it certainly seems to fly well enough, but inclement weather could well be a challenge.
Ultimately the company plans on 3 versions of the Solarship ranging in cargo capacity from 1 to 30 tons of payload.
In an interview with the Toronto Star SolarShip Founder Jay Godsall explained that the ship would be able to reach previously inaccessible places with substantial cargo, so it would be an ideal first response vehicle for natural disaster response.
Other natural uses would be in mining and other remote operations.