Those of you enviro nerds who have kept up with solar news might have caught sight of the Solar Impulse, the solar-powered airplane gliding over the Golden Gate Bridge a few weeks ago. At the time, it was taking a few practice laps before making its cross-country trip, which began this morning when the plane took off from Moffett Field at 6 a .m.
After a 19-hour flight, the plane is scheduled to land tomorrow at 1 a.m. in Phoenix.
According to Solar Impulse, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg will alternately pilot the plane as part of their challenge of flying from coast-to-coast without using one drop of fuel.
The first leg of the flight leading to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport will be completed by Bertrand Piccard. The last leg will end at New York's JFK Airport.
Here's raw footage of the plane's departure this morning:
This is the first time a solar airplane that is capable of flying all day and night without fuel has attempted to journey across America. This adventure is meant to coincide with the launch a new initiative called "Clean Generation," to gather worldwide support for the adoption of clean technologies.
Here's what Solar Impulse has to say about it:
Achieving this in a solar airplane capable of flying day and night without fuel, shows the enormous potential of clean technologies in terms of energy efficiency and renewable energy use. With this journey, Solar Impulse is hoped to inspire and motivate as many people as possible to embrace the pioneering spirit that allowed this revolutionary solar-powered airplane to become a reality.
In any event, here's the schedule for the plane's first-leg of this trip:
6 a.m. PDT (3 p.m. Swiss Time): Take-off from Moffett Field, Mountain View, Calif.
8 a.m. PDT (5 p.m. Swiss Time): Heading south east towards Fresno, Calif. - ascending to an altitude of 16,000 feet
1:30 p.m. PDT (10:30 p.m. Swiss Time): Passing Bakersfield, Calif. continues direction Palmdale, Calif. - cruising altitude 21,000 feet
4:30 p.m. PDT (1:30 a.m. Swiss Time): Flying over Barstow - continue direction Arizona between Mojave National Preserve and Joshua Tree National Park
1 a.m. MST (10 a.m. Swiss Time): Estimated landing at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport.