Published on May 8th, 2013 | by Nicholas Brown
Solar Impulse Plane Completes Flight From San Francisco to Phoenix
The Solar Impulse, a solar-powered plane that has already flown between Europe and Africa, has just completed the first leg of its American odyssey between San Francisco, California to Phoenix, Arizona. The flight lasted 18 hours, but eventually the Solar Impulse landed safely in Phoenix. The next stop is Dallas, Texas, and from there it is on to St. Louis, Washington D.C., and eventually New York City.
As you may have guessed, the Solar Impulse is an electric plane covered in solar panels and is extremely lightweight. Despite carrying 12,000 silicon solar cells stretched across the 60-meter wingspan, the Solar Impulse weighs just 1,600 kg, or about 3,500 pounds. The Solar Impulse is so efficient that it uses as much power as an electric scooter.
The Solar Impulse achieves its extremely high efficiency partly because it weighs as much as a conventional passenger car, but has the wide wingspan of a jumbo jet that enables it to accommodate the solar panels that it requires.
The pilot, Bertrand Piccard, said: “It’s a little bit like being in a dream,” he told reporters after landing.
The flight was so successful that was able to fly in circles for hours while he waited for the Phoenix airport to shut down commercial flight operations as a safety precaution. If all goes well, the Solar Impulse plans to eventually fly around the world in a plane powered by the sun and human ingenuity.
Source: NBC News
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