Plane's tour to tout future of solar power
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — A solar-powered plane that has wowed aviation fans in Europe is set to travel across the United States with stops in Phoenix, Dallas, Washington and New York, organizers of the trip announced Thursday.
The plane, Solar Impulse, is expected to be ready to leave the San Francisco Bay area on May 1, although the departure will depend on the weather, the plane's Swiss inventors said at a news conference at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif.
Each of the stops will last a week to 10 days.
“We want to inspire the young generation to become pioneers, to help them find and develop their passion,” said André Borschberg, one of the plane's creators.
The Solar Impulse is powered by about 12,000 photovoltaic cells that cover massive wings and charge its batteries, allowing it to fly day and night without jet fuel. It has the wing span of a commercial airplane but the weight of the average family car, making it vulnerable to bad weather.
Its makers say the Solar Impulse is designed to showcase the potential of solar power and will never replace fuel-powered commercial flights. The delicate, single-seat plane cruises about 40 miles per hour and can't fly through clouds.
In 2010, the solar plane flew non-stop for 26 hours to demonstrate that the aircraft could soak up enough sunlight to keep it airborne through the night. A year later, it went on its first international flight to Belgium and France.
Last year, the Solar Impulse made its first transcontinental voyage, traveling 1,550 miles from Madrid to the Moroccan capital of Rabat in 20 hours.
Before its coast-to-coast American trip, the Solar Impulse will take test flights around the San Francisco Bay area in April, officials said.
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.
- Benghazi panel formally requests private interview with Hillary
- FBI agent, 2 others sentenced in contractor kickback scheme in Utah
- Indiana governor wants changes to religious-objection law
- Appalachian miners wiped out by coal glut they can’t reverse
- Obama vetoes union election bill; streamlined election process to move forward
- Christie rails against high N.J. estate tax
- Experts skeptical of N.D.’s new oil train safety checks
- Pence: ‘Not going to change’ religious freedom law
- Police: Prisoner who stole gun, fled hospital found in D.C.
- Sen. Reid follows same old script for Democrats as he endorses Schumer as successor
- Mysteries of dark matter come to light in Science study