Japanese students succeeded in making a manned flight in a plane powered only by household batteries.

The group from the Tokyo Institute of Technology flew the plane a distance of 391 metres (1,283ft) at an airfield north of the capital, in what was the first such battery-powered flight, said a spokesman for Matsushita Electric Industrial, the project’s sponsors.

The plane, with a 31-metre wing span but weighing just 44kg, was piloted by a 63kg student for the trip, which lasted about one minute.

The power was provided by 160 AA batteries. "I didn’t think it would fly so beautifully," said one of the students involved.