Earlier this week, the first manned aircraft that can fly day and night powered by solar energy, has set a distance record when it landed after the second-leg of a cross-country U.S. tour. The Solar Impulse project was founded by two Swiss pilots. The goal is to showcase what can be done without using fossil fuels. The “ultimate goal” is to fly around the world by 2015.
The airplane is powered by 11,000 solar cells on the wings of the plane. The plane has completed the furthest continuous flight of a vehicle of its type by traveling 957 miles from Phoenix, Arizona to Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas. The airplane is called the Solar Impulse HB-SIA.
“This leg was particularly challenging because of fairly strong winds at the landing. It also was the longest flight?in terms of distance?ever flown by a solar airplane,” stated the plane’s pilot Andre Borschberg.
As part of the cross-country tour, Borschberg flew the plane around with his co-pilot Bertrand Piccard. The two took turns for each leg of the journey from San Francisco to New York. The Solar Impulse’s previous journey was a 693-mile trip from Switzerland to Spain.
[Image Credit: Solar Impulse]