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First full-solar powered plane successfully flies across U.S.

First full-solar powered plane successfully flies across U.S.
Photo taken from United Nations Environment Programme’s website

Solar Impulse, the first ever full-solar powered airplane, has successfully flown across the United States of America, setting a new milestone in the history of aviation.

The solar-powered airplane began its journey back in May 3 in San Francisco, California, and landed on its final destination at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport July 6, at 11:09 p.m. E.D.T. Its arrival in New York was three hours earlier than planned because of a rip on the lower side of the left wing.

“The last leg was especially difficult due to the damage of the fabric on the left wing. It obliged the team to envisage all the possible scenarios, including bailing out over the Atlantic. But this type of problem is inherent to every experimental endeavor,” said Solar Impulse Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Andre Borschberg.

“In the end, this didn’t prevent us from succeeding in our Across America mission and provided an invaluable learning experience in preparation for the round-the-world tour in 2015,” Mr. Borschber added.

The flight time took a total of 105 hours and 41 minutes, flying a total of 3,511 miles both at night and day, at an average speed of 28.8 kt.

“During the Solar Impulse journey, we had to find solutions for a lot of unforeseen situations, which obliged us to develop new skills and strategies. In doing so, we also pushed the boundaries of clean technologies and renewable energies to unprecedented levels,” said Solar Impulse initiator, chairman, and alternate pilot Dr. Betrand Piccard.

During the course of the cross-country journey, Solar Impulse flew to Phoenix, Dallas-Fort Worth, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Washington D.C. and finally to New York.

The alternating pilots, Mr. Borschberg along with fellow pioneer Dr. Piccard, had to stop in each of the cities to organize public viewings and political meetings with high level representatives, such as Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, to promote clean technologies, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. – EcoSeed Staff

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