Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Sun-powered plane completes California test flight

A solar-powered plane that has wowed aviation fans in Europe took to the skies Friday over the San Francisco Bay area in a successful test flight.

Considered the world's most advanced sun-powered plane, the Solar Impulse took off from Moffett Field in Mountain View, Calif., at first light for a two-hour practice run in advance of a planned multicity, cross-country tour.

"That's a mythical step in aviation," André Borschberg, one of the plane's pilots and creators, said about flying cross-country. He said a flight around the world could occur in two years.

The Solar Impulse is powered by about 12,000 photovoltaic cells that cover massive wings and charge its batteries, allowing it to fly day and night without jet fuel. It has the wing span of a commercial airplane but the weight of the average family car, making it vulnerable to bad weather.

The plane's creators say it is designed to showcase the potential of solar power and will never replace fuel-powered commercial flights. The delicate, single-seat plane cruises around 40 mph and can't fly through clouds.

Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard, Solar Impulse co-founder and chairman, said the plane should be ready for the cross-country journey on May 1, depending on the weather.

"We like nice weather. We like sunny days," Borschberg said.

Stops are planned in Phoenix, Dallas, Washington and New York. Each flight leg will take 20 to 25 hours, with 10-day stops in each city. Between Dallas and Washington, the plane will also stop in Atlanta, Nashville or St. Louis.

Sun-powered plane completes California test flight 04/19/13 [Last modified: Friday, April 19, 2013 10:57pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. 'Modern Family' star Sarah Hyland denies anorexia accusation

    Blogs

    Modern Family star Sarah Hyland says her skinny appearance lately is due to a medical condition.

    Sarah Hyland attends the 2nd Annual InStyle Awards at The Getty Center in Los Angeles in October. Hyland posted on social media May 24, 2017, that her skinny appearance lately is due to a medical condition.
  2. Ryan, other Republicans call on Gianforte to 'apologize' for 'mistake'

    Blogs

    MISSOULA, Mont. - Leading Republicans criticized Greg Gianforte on Thursday, the morning after the Republican candidate in Montana's special congressional election was given a court date and citation for allegedly assaulting a reporter.

    Greg Gianforte, right, receives congratulations from a supporter in Helena, Mont., in March.
  3. Mel and Betty Sembler's Drug Free America Foundation calls for special marijuana session

    Blogs

    An unlikely voice has joined the drug policy activists calling on Florida lawmakers to come back in special session focused on medical marijuana: The Drug Free America Foundation, which opposes medical marijuana and whose founders spent nearly $10 million trying to kill the 2014 and 2016 constitutional amendments to …

    Mel and Betty Sembler, pictured in 2011.
  4. Gov. Rick Scott signs tax cut bill into law

    Blogs

    It's hardly the $618 million tax cut Gov. Rick Scott asked for four months ago.

  5. Florida joins other states in ending 'tampon tax'

    Blogs

    From our friends at the Associated Press: