The Herald of Everett, Washington
Customer service  |  Subscribe   |   Log in or sign up   |   Advertising information   |   Contact us
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up  Green editions icon Green editions

Solar plane soars over California

  • The Solar Impulse after landing at Moffett Field NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., on Friday.

    Jeff Chiu / Associated Press

    The Solar Impulse after landing at Moffett Field NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., on Friday.

SHARE: facebook Twitter icon Pinterest icon Linkedin icon Google+ icon Email icon |  PRINTER-FRIENDLY  |  COMMENTS
Associated Press
Published:
  • The Solar Impulse after landing at Moffett Field NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., on Friday.

    Jeff Chiu / Associated Press

    The Solar Impulse after landing at Moffett Field NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., on Friday.

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 multi-city, 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. "We are something like between 1915 and 1920, compared to traditional aviation, when pioneers tried these non-stop flights." 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.
Its creators say the Solar Impulse 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, D.C., 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 at one of three other cities -- Atlanta, Nashville or St. Louis.
Borschberg said the plane's creators are close to being able to launch the non-stop flights needed to go around the world.
Using solar power, "we are close to the notion of perpetual flight," he said.
Story tags » Boeing

More Nation & World Headlines

NEWSLETTER

HeraldNet Headlines

Top stories and breaking news updates

Calendar

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus