Solar-powered plane makes history

The Swiss-built airplane Solar Impulse touched down in Dallas, Texas on Thursday, breaking the world distance record of the solar aviation, its owner announced.

It is the plane’s second leg on its ”Across America” mission, which started from San Francisco, California on May 3 and completed the first leg by landing in Phoenix, Arizona on May 4. The Phoenix – Dallas flight, piloted by the plane’s co-founder and chief executive officer Andre Borschberg, took more than 18 hours, covering a distance of 1,396.8 kilometres.

The previous distance record in the solar aviation category, according to the Federation Aeronautique Internationale, was 1,099.3 kilometres. It was also set by Solar Impulse and Borscherg, when he flew the single-seater plane from Switzerland to Spain in May 2012.

The slow-speed aircraft has wings as wide as a Boeing 747, but it weighs as little as a small car. It uses entirely solar energy to power its four 10-horsepower motors. Usually, it only takes about 2 hours for a commercial jet to fly from Phoenix to Dallas.

The plane plans to finish its two-month journey by landing at John F Kennedy International Airport in New York City in early July. The next challenge for it will be to fly around the world. (dpa)

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POSTED BY on May 24 under Solar Power

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