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Solar Powered Plane Completes US Crossing

Posted by Patrick Gensel on

Solar Powered!

In a bid for what is planned to be the first round-the-world solar flight, Swiss adventurer, Andre Borchberg landed an experimental solar powered aircraft at New York's JFK airport on Saturday after taking off from Lehigh Valley International Airport nearly 5 hours earlier. Solar Impulse 2 arrived at roughly 4am eastern time after a beautiful flyby of the Statue of Liberty.

What Is Solar Impulse?

What if we could fly around the world using nothing but renewable energy? Well that is precisely what Bertrand Piccard and Andr Borschberg are attempting to do with the Solar Impulse project. And if they succeed, they will be the first to achieve a global circumnavigation in a solar powered plane. Currently, the Solar Impulse 2 is the project's aircraft in use. Check out this video from the Solar Impulse Youtube page to get all the details on the project.

Solar Impulse 2 Stats

Crew: 1
Total Length: 73.5 Feet
Wingspan: 236 Feet
Height: 20.9 Feet
Weight(Loaded): 5,100 Lbs
Powerplant: 4 electric motors powered by solar cells. (17.4hp per electric motor)
Prop Diameter: 13.1 feet
Take-off speed: 22.4 mph
Top Speed: 87 mph
Cruise Speed: 49 Kn
Operating Altitude: 27,900 feet
Maximum Altitude: 39,000 feet\

What’s Next?

So now that the Solar Impulse 2 has completed it’s crossing of the United States, what is next on it’s mission to completely circumnavigate the globe? As of now, there is no target date for the next flight. The weather has to be just right, and with that in mind, The Monaco Mission Control Center will begin looking for an opportune weather window for the Atlantic crossing. The landing location has not been chosen yet, but expect it to be somewhere within Ireland, Portugal, Morocco, or Spain.

For full coverage of the this past weekends flight, check out the video below.