Solar Impulse plane sets off for New York in last leg
Published: 6th Jul 2013 10:18:30
The Solar Impulse plane has taken off for the final leg of its bid to cross the US on solar power alone.
The craft set off at 04:56 local time (08:56 GMT) on Saturday from Washington DC on a course for New York's John F Kennedy airport.
Pilot Andre Borschberg anticipates a journey time of about 21 hours.
The Across America transcontinental bid began in San Francisco, California, and included stopovers in Phoenix, Arizona, Dallas, Texas, and St Louis, Missouri.
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 project has been billed as the first time that a solar-powered plane capable of flying day and night has attempted a journey across the US.
Mr Borschberg and his fellow pilot of the single-seat craft have been alternating flying duties, with each leg of the trip designed to be under 24 hours in length.
The prior leg was complicated by high winds and air traffic, so it was re-routed via Cincinnati at the last minute in order to stay under this limit.
"It was difficult to find all these 'weather windows' in the States - especially this last one," Mr Borscherg told BBC News prior to the flight.
"We had so much to organise to make it feasible - to integrate an experimental airplane like Solar Impulse in the busiest air traffic in the world, flying from Washington to Kennedy (airport) was extremely hard."
The Across America project is the last outing for the HB-SIA prototype craft.
Mr Piccard's and Mr Borschberg's intention is to finish a larger, two-seat plane, the HB-SIB, and fly it around the world in the spring of 2015.
That, Mr Borschberg said, would be "many times more complex than what we did here in the US".
"Working in one country with one language makes it of course easier than working internationally on different continents with all the logistics," he said.
"The unpredictable side of the project requires a lot of preparation."
The HB-SIA craft carried out the first inter-continental flight in 2012 and holds the world record for the longest manned solar-powered flight at 26 hours.
During the Across America bid, it set the record for the greatest distance of a manned solar-powered flight.
The project coincides with Piccard's and Borschberg's Clean Generation Initiative, an effort to encourage policy-makers and businesses to develop and adopt sustainable energy technologies.
At a welcoming event when the craft reached Washington DC, US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz said: "If you look at the Department of Energy's research programmes and technology visions, it involves many of the same kind of technology advances that these gentlemen have put together in an integrated system to accomplish something that would not have been thought of a few years ago.
"I believe in 10 years we're going to see the fruits of all these technologies changing the world."
At 11:00:41 in EnglandGoats at a Dorset community farm are being used as an alternative means of recycling Christmas trees.
At 10:53:31 in SportAlan Norris accepts there will be more expectation on him to do well at the BDO World Championship after finishing runner-up at Lakeside last time around.
At 10:53:27 in ScotlandA major Hogmanay event in Aberdeenshire being headlined by pop legends The Human League came close to being cancelled, the organisers have admitted.
At 10:51:59 in BusinessNetwork Rail chief executive Mark Carne says he will not take his bonus, following recent major rail disruption.
At 10:49:48 in SportBarcelona will not be allowed to sign any players in 2015 after their appeal against a transfer ban was dismissed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
At 10:49:32 in HeadlinesHeavy gunfire has erupted near the presidential palace in The Gambia's capital, Banjul, reports say.
At 10:42:50 in ScotlandThe Tay Rail Bridge was closed after a man was spotted on the tracks.
At 10:42:08 in Northern IrelandA woman in her 70s has died following a house fire in County Donegal.
At 10:31:43 in SportFermanagh manager Pete McGrath has brought nine new players into his squad for the upcoming McKenna Cup campaign.
At 10:30:44 in WalesAn inquest into the death of a Denbigh pensioner who died while out walking on the Greek island of Crete will be held in January.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2013. Solar Impulse plane sets off for New York in last leg [Online] (Updated 6th Jul 2013)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1494237/Solar-Impulse-plane-sets-off-for-New-York-in-last-leg [Accessed 26th Jan 2015]
News In Other Categories
Former Saved by the Bell actor Dustin Diamond has appeared in court in Wisconsin, accused of stabbing a man during a bar brawl on Christmas Day.
A woman in her 70s has died following a house fire in County Donegal.
An inquest into the death of a Denbigh pensioner who died while out walking on the Greek island of Crete will be held in January.
A health worker who was diagnosed with Ebola after returning to Scotland from Sierra Leone is being transferred to a specialist treatment centre in London.
Alan Norris accepts there will be more expectation on him to do well at the BDO World Championship after finishing runner-up at Lakeside last time around.