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Solar Impulse C completes U.S. journey

July 8, 2013, New York, N.Y. - Solar Impulse C, the aircraft exclusively powered by solar energy, has successfully landed at John F Kennedy International Airport in New York, completing the final stage of the journey across the U.S.


July 8, 2013
By aerospace-technology.com

The flight marks a new milestone for the first time an aircraft capable of flying day and night powered exclusively by solar energy has crossed the U.S from west to east coast.

The aircraft features four propellers driven by energy accumulated from 12,000 solar cells in its wings to charge batteries for night use.

Solar Impulse co-founder and CEO André Borschberg landed the aircraft at John F Kennedy airport on July 6 at 11.09 pm EDT, around three hours earlier than scheduled due to a rip in the fabric on the lower side of the left wing.

The flight took 18 hours 23 minutes, with a departure from Washington Dulles at 4.46 am EDT on Saturday.

Solar Impulse's U.S. flight started on May 3 in San Francisco and involved a total of 105 hours 41 minutes and 3,511 miles, flown at an average speed of 28.8k.

André Borschberg said that this last leg was especially difficult due to the damage of the fabric on the left wing, which made the team to think up all the possible scenarios, including bailing out over the Atlantic.

"This type of problem is inherent to every experimental endeavor," Borschberg said. "We extend our gratitude to all airport and government authorities whose precious support made this mission possible."

Solar Impulse Initiator chairman and pilot Dr. Bertrand Piccard said that flying coast-to-coast has always been full of challenges for aviation pioneers.

"During this journey, we had to find solutions for a lot of unforeseen situations, which obliged us to develop new skills and strategies," Piccard said.

"In doing so, we also pushed the boundaries of clean technologies and renewable energies to unprecedented levels."

The Solar Impulse Across America mission has been conducted in partnership with Solvay, Schindler, Bayer Material Science, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, Sunpower and the Swiss Confederation.