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Solar powered plane headed from Bay Area to Phoenix

Friday, May 03, 2013
Solar Impulse plane Solar Impulse plane In about a month, a solar-powered plane will embark on a record-setting cross-country flight.

A plane that flies on solar power day and night is now on the first leg of its historic cross-country flight. The five leg journey began very early at Moffett Field.

The takeoff was historic, slow and steady as the world's first solar powered plane began its journey. Inside, Solar Impulse co-founder and pilot Bertrand Piccard will fly the plane 40 mph from a small cockpit with no heat and an economy style seat. The plane itself is as light as a car with a wingspan of a 747. It runs fuel free with 12,000 solar cells in the wings.

Former Swiss Airforce Pilot Andre Borschberg is partnering with Piccard in this mission.

"You can take off in the morning with almost empty batteries and you can fly the entire day and climb to 30,000 feet, which is the altitude of the airliners and you can fill up the batteries," said Borschberg.

. Full battery power that may one day power homes, cars or more.

"This project is more about promoting clean technologies, renewable energies, energy savings," said Gregory Blatt of Solar Impulse.

From Moffett Field, Solar Impulse will journey over the next two months to Phoenix and eventually to New York.

The price tag to make all of this happen was $140 million. Work is underway to build a second solar plane for an around the world mission in 2015.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
solar energy, airline industry, mountain view, moffett field, green
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