Solar-powered plane completes first leg of US trip

The Solar Impulse takes off in California. Picture: AP
The Solar Impulse takes off in California. Picture: AP
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AN AEROPLANE powered by solar energy has completed the first portion of its journey across the USA, the first of its kind in a sun-powered aircraft.

The Solar Impulse is powered by 12,000 photovoltaic cells across its wings, and is capable of flying at around 40 miles per hour. It is powered solely by solar energy.

The day-night flight left from California just past dawn on Friday, and landed at Pheonix Airport just after midnight local time.

The intention is for the plane to travel to Dallas, St Louis, Washington and New York City.

Solar Impulse co-founder and co-pilot Bertrand Piccard said: “All the big pioneers of the 20th century have tried to fly coast to coast across America.

“Today we’re trying to do this, but on solar power with no fuel with the first airplane that is able to fly day and night just on solar power.”