The Solar Impulse solar-powered airplane is beginning the second leg of its fuel-free, record-breaking flight over the United States. This weekend, Solar Impulse landed in Phoenix after completing the first leg of its trans-American voyage, reporting safe travels after its take-off in San Francisco. Solar Impulse is powered by nearly 12,000 photovoltaic cells on its main wing and rear stabilizer, a system that runs four electric propellers toward a cruising speed of 43 mph. Its flight to Phoenix was the beginning of a flight over the United States without a single drop of fuel, relying entirely on solar power for propelled air travel.
This solar-powered trans-American flight will not be Solar Impulse’s first broken record. Last year, Solar Impulse flew from Spain to Morocco, becoming the first trans-continental flight from a solar-powered aircraft. The journey across the United States is a much longer undertaking, but Solar Impulse is fairing well in the early legs of the trip. Naturally, Solar Impulse cannot generate power after sunset, so the trip must be broken up into shorter legs to complete the journey. Look for more news about the Solar Impulse record-breaking trip when it lands in New York later this spring.