Solar-Powered Plane Completes Cross-Country Flight
Next up: circling the globe
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The world’s first solar-powered plane completed its first-ever cross-country flight on Monday. The Solar Impulse touched down in New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport at 11:09 p.m., ending a three-month odyssey that began when the plane and its two pilots left San Francisco on May 3.
While the Solar Impulse’s two pilots, Andrew Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard, had originally planned to pass near the Statue of Liberty en route to their destination, the fly-by had to be scrapped after the crew found an eight-foot tear in one of the plane’s wings.
Powered by 11,000 solar cells, the Solar Impulse can fly at altitudes of up to 30,000 feet and reach speeds of up to 45 miles per hour. According to Washington Post, the plane’s creators plan to take an improved version of the craft on a round-the-world flight in 2015.