All that practice over the Golden Gate really paid off. The solar-powered airplane that departed from the Bay Area on Friday for its cross-country trip landed safely in Arizona where the plane and pilots are reportedly enjoying fame.
So far the fuel-less flight has been a success; the plane flew continuously for 19 hours, powered with sunlight by day and lithium-ion batteries by night. The plane is capable of 26 hours of non-stop flight.
The 1.6-ton plane, dubbed Solar Impulse, has 12,000 solar panels on its wing, and will be the first solar-powered plane to fly across the
country globe by 2015.
A few weeks ago, the pilots were spotted taking a few practice laps over the Golden Gate Bridge, drawing attention from the eco-curious city of San Francisco. On Friday. the HB-SIA took off from Moffett Field on the edge of San Francisco Bay at 6:12 a.m.
The plane will spend a few more days in Phoenix for a public exhibition before taking the second leg of its journey to Dallas, Texas. Afterward, the plane will head to St. Louis, Washington, D.C., and make its final stop in New York City.