Solar Flight Across America

Photo Courtesy of Google Images

On May 3, the Solar Impulse, a Swiss Solar Powered Aircraft, took off here at our very own San Francisco Bay Area. With its founders Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg as pilots, the craft went on a coast-to-coast flight with nothing but energy drawn from the sun. The Solar Impulse took off at Moffett Field, south of San Francisco, and is headed for Phoenix, AZ. Its stops include Dallas, St. Louis, and Washington D.C., before ending the journey at JFK Airport in New York around July.

The Solar Impulse project was initiated back in 2003, with a budget of $112 million and a time frame of over 10 years, in Switzerland. The resulting craft has a wingspan of 63.4 m (208 m), which is almost as long as the commercial Boeing 747, and weighs as much as a medium sized car. Its wings are covered with 12,000 Photovoltaic Cells, or in layman’s term, solar panels, that charge batteries equivalent to a Tesla car.

Founders Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg wanted to promote a future of cleaner energy alternatives. With high hopes for the journey, it is scheduled for a global flight in 2015. You can follow the Solar Impulse’s journey online.

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