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Solar Plane Lands in Phoenix

By: NNS/KSAZ
By: NNS/KSAZ

A solar-powered airplane landed in Phoenix, Arizona early Saturday morning (5-4) on the first leg of a cross-country trip.

“The Solar Impulse” is considered the world’s most-advanced sun-powered plane.

It touched down at Sky Harbor Airport around 12:30 a.m. local time.

Its creators say the trip is the first attempt by a solar airplane to fly across America. The plane is capable of flying day and night without fuel.

The plane left Moffett Field in Mountain View near San Francisco just after dawn Friday (5-3).

The plane is powered by about 12 thousand photovoltaic cells that cover massive wings and charge its batteries.

From Phoenix, the aircraft will travel to Dallas-Fort Worth airport in Texas, Lambert-St. Louis airport, Dulles airport in the Washington area and New York's John F. Kennedy airport. Each flight leg will take about 19 to 25 hours, with 10-day stops in each city.

The delicate, single-seat Solar Impulse flies around 40 miles-per-hour and can't go through clouds. It weighs about as much as a car, making it vulnerable to bad weather.

Its creators say solar planes will never replace fuel-powered commercial flights. But the goal is to showcase the potential of solar power.

The plane has previously impressed audiences in Europe.


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