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First Ever Cross-Country Solar Powered Flight Lands in NYC

by Associated Press
A A
Solar Impulse Landing at Dusk

Michel Vanderheyden, flickr

The Solar Impulse, Zero Emission Aircraft, Touches Down at JFK

A solar-powered aircraft has completed a history-making cross-country flight, landing at New York's JFK airport. 

The Solar Impulse flew out of Dulles International Airport in Washington a little before 5 a.m. Saturday en route to New York City and landed shortly after 11 p.m.

An unexpected tear was found on the left wing of the revolutionary plane earlier Saturday, forcing the aircraft to land three hours ahead of schedule.  Officials said neither the pilot nor aircraft appeared to be in danger. 

The accelerated schedule forced flight officials to scrap a planned fly-by past the Statue of Liberty and head straight to JFK.

The aircraft, powered by some 11,000 Solar cells, soars to 30,000 feet while reaching a top speed of 45 mph.  The Solar Impulse left San Francisco in early May and has made stopovers in Phoenix, Dallas-Fort Worth, St. Louis, Cincinnati and Dulles. 

The Chairman of Solar Impulse is Swiss adventurer Bertrand Piccard.  Piccard has helped raise $115 million over the past decade for the project.  The project is meant to demonstrate technologies like solar power generation, electricity storage, and the creation and use of ultra lightweight materials.  Piccard has said that solar power technologies could be used in commercial flights in as little as five years. 

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