Solar plane lands in Ariz., 1st leg of major trip - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Solar plane lands in Ariz., 1st leg of major trip

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PHOENIX -

A historic solar-powered airplane on a cross country flight finished its first leg at Sky Harbor Airport Saturday morning.

The creators of the plane say it's the first time a solar-powered plane, flying day and night, has attempted the voyage.

A row of bright lights lined something hovering in the sky.

A UFO?

Not quite, but for its creators, it's just as ground-breaking.

"This is a good demonstration that renewable energies can achieve impossible things," said Bertrand Piccard, the plane's pilot.

The impossible: a plane powered by nothing more than the sun, storing solar energy by day and able to continue flying by night.

The 12,000 solar panels keep the plane moving non-stop for 24 hours.

Piccard flew the Solar Impulse from San Jose to Phoenix, the start of a cross country trip.

"I have hours of desert with all the shades, colors, lights, gorgeous desert. From Mohave to here, then arriving in Phoenix with all the lights of the city," said Piccard.

Flying at about 40 mph and only a single seater, the plane is far from replacing commercial airplanes.

But, the creators say it showcases just the beginning of what is possible in aviation and beyond.

"Obviously it's not the most comfortable way to travel, but we believe it's the most powerful way to speak about new technology and energy efficiency," said Piccard.

It was an 18 hour trip in the first leg, and a long journey ahead to what the creators hope is more sustainable future.

The plane will continue the cross country journey over the next two months, ending in New York.

Follow the voyage online at www.solarimpulse.com/en/join-the-challenge/supporters-program/

Follow this story: Solar plane to stop in Phoenix during cross-country trip


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