TribLIVE

| News

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Solar plane leaves Calif. on cross-country trip

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By The Associated Press
Friday, May 3, 2013, 3:33 p.m.
 

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.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Penguins trade Sutter to Canucks, sign free agent center Fehr
  2. Pirates notebook: Prospect Tucker unaware of ‘trade’ frenzy
  3. Sutter: Staal effect felt on 3rd line
  4. New Pens winger Fehr ready for defense-first role
  5. 5 face trial in beating of black man in Pittsburgh
  6. Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell gets suspension, fine reduced
  7. Projects advance through Pittsburgh planning commission despite opposition
  8. Steelers RB Archer trying to catch up after tough rookie season
  9. Police officer taking job in Harmarville
  10. Boy youngest to receive double-hand transplant in Philadelphia
  11. Turks, Kurdish rebels deepen hostility