Solar plane sets distance record

2013-05-23 15:08


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Los Angeles - The first manned aircraft that can fly day and night powered only by solar energy set a new distance record on Thursday when it landed after the second leg of a cross-country US tour.

The Solar Impulse project, founded and led by two Swiss pilots, aims to showcase what can be accomplished without fossil fuels, and has set its "ultimate goal" as an around-the-world flight in 2015.

Solar Impulse landed in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas at 06:08 GMT after an 18 hour and 21 minute flight from Phoenix, Arizona, a distance of 1 541km, organisers said in a statement.

"This leg was particularly challenging because of fairly strong winds at the landing. It also was the longest flight - in terms of distance - ever flown by a solar airplane," the plane's pilot Andre Borschberg said.

"You have to understand that the pilot needs to stay awake for more than 20 hours without any autopilot," added Borschberg, who holds the record for the longest solar-powered flight, at 26 hours.

The previous distance record was attained by Solar Impulse one year ago on a 1 116km flight from Switzerland to Spain.

The first leg of Solar Impulse's US tour took place on 3 May, when Swiss aviator Bertrand Piccard flew the aircraft from the San Francisco, California area to Phoenix.

On the first leg the plane - which has a slim body and four electric engines attached to enormous wings - flew quietly at an average speed of about 49km per hour.

Energy provided by 12 000 solar cells powered the plane's propellers.

The plane can fly at night by reaching a high elevation of 8 230m and then gently gliding downward, using almost no power until the sun comes up to begin recharging the solar cells.

The US itinerary allows for up to 10 days at each stop in order to showcase the plane's technology to the public. Another stop is planned in the US capital Washington before the trip concludes in New York in early July.

The stopovers will allow Piccard and Borschberg to share duties and rest between flights.

A dashboard showing the live speed, direction, battery status, solar generator and engine power, along with cockpit cameras of both Piccard and his view from the plane, can be viewed online at Solarimpulse.

Read more on:    solar impulse

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.