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Solar-powered plane embarks on flight across US

Last Updated: Friday, May 3, 2013 - 23:01

Zee Media Bureau

Mountain View, California: A solar-powered airplane has embarked on the first leg of its journey across the United Sates on Friday, May 3.

The Solar Impulse, which can fly day and night without using jet fuel, took off from Moffett Airfield near San Francisco, California, at 06:12 local time (13:12 GMT). The plane is heading south on the first 19-hour leg of its journey, and is likely to touch down at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport early Saturday (May 4).

The plane, piloted by Swiss adventurer Bertrand Piccard, is powered by about 12,000 photovoltaic cells that cover huge wings and charge its batteries. The aircraft is expected to reach a cruising altitude of 21,000 feet (6,400 meters) in today’s flight. However, its low weight makes it susceptible to bad weather.

While, Solar Impulse, which was launched in 2003, has already attracted aviation fans in Europe, its creators say the planes will never substitute fuel-powered commercial flights in future and the main goal is to display the potential of solar power.

First Published: Friday, May 3, 2013 - 23:01

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