Solar plane leaves Calif. on cross-country trip
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — A solar-powered airplane left Northern California on Friday for the first leg of a planned cross-country trip that its co-pilot described as a “milestone” in aviation history.
The Solar Impulse - considered the world's most-advanced sun-powered plane - left Moffett Field in Mountain View just after dawn. Its creators said the trip is the first attempt by a solar airplane capable of flying day and night without fuel to fly across America.
It plans to land at Sky Harbor airport in Phoenix, 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.
“All the big pioneers of the 20th century have tried to fly coast to coast across America,” said co-pilot and one of the plane's founders, Bertrand Piccard. “So now today we're trying to do this, but on solar power with no fuel with the first airplane that is able to fly day and night just on solar power.”
The plane is powered by about 12,000 photovoltaic cells that cover massive wings and charge its batteries.
The delicate, single-seat Solar Impulse flies around 40 mph and can't go through clouds. It weighs about as much as a car, making it vulnerable to bad weather.
Its creators said solar planes will never replace fuel-powered commercial flights. But the goal is to showcase the potential of solar power.
“What we look for is to have a new milestone in this very exciting history of aviation that can attract interest of the people, of the political world, of the media and show that with renewable energies and clean technology for energy efficiency, we can achieve impossible things,” Piccard said.
The plane has previously impressed audiences in Europe. It is expected to reach Phoenix around 1 a.m. Saturday.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Conviction overturned in Italy murder case for Seattle woman
- Eagle egg breaks, parents abandon nest
- MLB notebook: Red Sox slugger Ortiz defends his reputation, touts drug test record
- Pedestrian struck in Hazelwood Monday dies
- Norwin High School health teacher charged with selling heroin
- Cat or dog not great fit for pet? A bunny might be your buddy
- Designer mannequins fill NYC exhibition
- Congress should repeal medical device tax
- Stocks snap 4-day losing streak; corporate earnings concerns linger
- Plum police search for home invasion suspect
- Seeing divers succeed drives Clarion coach