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Solar Impulse, the Sun-Powered Aircraft Completed First Leg of Journey to Cross US

Solar Impulse, the plane powered by Sun completed its first leg of journey with an aim to cross US. The plane landed in Phoenix, Arizona on 4 May 2013.

May 9, 2013 11:22 IST
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Solar Impulse, the plane powered by Sun completed its first leg of journey with an aim to cross US. The plane took off from San Francisco, California on 3 May 2013 and landed in Phoenix, Arizona on 4 May 2013.

It is planned that Solar Impulse will also halt in Dallas, St Louis, Washington DC and New York. The wingspan of the plane is similar to that of Airbus A340, but its weight is merely 1.6 tonnes. Solar Impulse already completed a flight which lasted more than 26 hours. The aim is now to circumnavigate it around the world in 2015.

This indicated that Solar Impulse spent a lot of hours in darkness and relied only on energy which was stored in a range of lithium-ion batteries, used to drive the propellers.

In the daylight, these lithium-ion batteries were charged by around 12000 solar cells which cover the wings as well as stabilizer of the plane. Bertrand Piccard, the co-founder of this plane project was the pilot of HB-SIA craft. He is also the same person who circumnavigated the globe in hot air balloon in 1999.

This is the first ever attempt of America to create zero-fuel aircraft. At present, the HB-SIA aircraft is the prototype of plane which will be used for round-the-world trips as well as transoceanic flights. By the end of 2013, HB-SIB will be completed.

The Solar Impulse is said to be the Clean Generation Initiative of the creators. This would serve as an effort for encouraging the policy makers as well as businesses for the development as well as adoption of sustainable energy technologies.

What is Solar Impulse?

Solar Impulse is the Swiss long-range solar-powered project. The aim of this project is to circumnavigate the globe with the use of just solar power. Bertrand Piccard as well as Swiss businessman André Borschberg led the project.

Successful solar flights were conducted by Piccard and Borschberg in 2012 from Switzerland to Spain and Morocco. In 2013, successful flight was taken within USA.

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