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Solar Plane Completes Cross-Country Journey

In a feat that would have pleased both Icarus and Daedalus, a solar-powered aircraft capable of flying during day and night ended its multi-leg cross-country journey in New York last Saturday.

The AP has the full scoop, but here are some of the flashier details: the Solar Impulse started from California in early May, powered by about 11,000 solar cells on its large wings.

The plane could cruise at 30,000 feet, but its top speed was … 45 miles per hour. Since its journey began in San Francisco this spring, the Solar Impulse has visited Phoenix, Dallas-Fort Worth, St. Louis, Cincinnati, and Washington, D.C.

Sure, there are much, much faster ways to cross the continent, but it’s great to see the spirit of adventure and innovation is alive and well in the skies. Of the trip, one of the plane’s two pilots said, “Flying coast-to-coast has always been a mythical milestone full of challenges for aviation pioneers.”

An upgraded version of the plane will be used in a 2015 flight around the globe.

(Photo: Charles Barilleaux via flickr/CC Attribution)

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