Published On: Sun, May 26th, 2013

The “Across America” the first cross-continental, solar-powered flight.

Solar impulse plane infographic

A solar airplane that developers hope to eventually pilot around the globe landed safely on Thursday in Texas, completing the second and longest leg of an attempt to fly across the United States powered only by the sun.

The spindly experimental aircraft, dubbed Solar Impulse, touched down at Dallas/Forth Worth International Airport shortly after 1 a.m. local time, logging 18 hours and 21 minutes in the air to cover 823 nautical miles from Arizona.

The flight set a new absolute world distance record in solar aviation, organizers said.

The Solar Impulse plane has set a new distance record for solar-powered flight on the second leg of its trans-American journey on Wednesday evening.

The craft landed in Dallas, Texas, after an 18-hour flight from Phoenix, Arizona – a journey of 1,541km (958mi).

In the coming weeks, it will also stop over in St Louis, Missouri, and Washington DC before heading to New York in early July.

The project aims to showcase the capabilities of renewable energy.

The Solar Impulse HB-SIA has the same wingspan as an Airbus A340 but at a weight of just 1.6 tonnes – by comparison, a fully laden A340 weighs about 370 tonnes.

The plane’s wing and stabiliser are covered with nearly 12,000 solar cells, which drive its four propellers and charge the plane’s 400kg of lithium-ion batteries for night-time flying.

The “Across America” bid is billed as the first cross-continental, solar-powered flight.

It is the last showpiece with the prototype aircraft before the Solar Impulse co-founders and pilots, Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg, attempt a trans-oceanic flight and an eventual around-the-world flight in 2015.
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