Solar Impulse continues trans-American flight

Solar Impulse, the solar powered plane of Swiss pioneers Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, has set off on the second leg of its trans-American journey.

The aircraft departed from Phoenix, Arizona at 04:47 local time (12:47 BST), bound for Dallas, Texas. The journey is expected to last around 20 hours. The Solar Impulse project was started by Borschberg and Piccard in 2003 with a 10 year budget of €90million. The plane, which has the wingspan of a Boeing 747 and is powered by some 14,000 solar cells mounted on its wings, made aviation history in July 2011 by flying through the night on solar power alone. After its inaugural flight to Paris and Brussels in 2011, the solar aircraft in June 2012 flew more than 2,500km without using a drop of fuel, before finally touching down in Morocco. The team is now gearing up to complete a round-the-world trip in 2014.