Solar-powered plane completes transcontinental trip

Written by: Laura Hopperton | Published:

Solar Impulse – the solar-powered airplane of Swiss pioneers Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg – has successfully completed the final leg of its two-month journey across the US.

The plane landed in New York on Sunday after setting off from Washington 18 hours earlier.

It marks the first time a plane capable of flying day and night powered exclusively by solar energy has crossed the USA from the West to the East coasts without using a single drop of fuel.

"Flying coast to coast has always been a mythical milestone full of challenges for aviation pioneers," said Piccard. "During this journey, we had to find solutions for a lot of unforeseen situations, which obliged us to develop new skills and strategies. In doing so, we also pushed the boundaries of clean technologies and renewable energies to unprecedented levels."

Indeed, the last leg of the flight proved particularly difficult for the team due to fabric on the left wing being damaged.

"But this type of problem is inherent to every experimental endeavour," noted Borschberg. "In the end, this didn't prevent us from succeeding in our Across America mission and provided an invaluable learning experience in preparation for the round the world tour in 2015."

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