"Solar Impulse" takes off for flight across United States
Friday, May 03, 2013 - 00:59
May 3 - The ''Solar Impulse'' takes off from San Francisco Bay on the first leg of an attempt to fly across the United States with no fuel but the sun's energy. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
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ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION
A solar-powered airplane that developers hope to eventually pilot around the world took off early on Friday from San Francisco Bay, on the first leg of an attempt to fly across the United States with no fuel but the sun's energy.
The plane, dubbed the Solar Impulse, departed shortly after 6 a.m. local time from Moffett Field, a joint civil-military airport near the south end of San Francisco, heading first to Phoenix on a slow-speed flight expected to take 15 to 20 hours.
The spindly looking plane barely hummed as it took flight in the still northern California morning as the sun was just beginning to peek out over the Santa Cruz Mountains to the east.
After additional stops in Dallas, St. Louis and Washington, D.C., with pauses at each destination to wait for favorable weather, the flight team hopes to conclude the plane's cross-country voyage in about two months at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.
Swiss pilots and co-founders of the project, Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg, will take turns flying the plane, built with a single-seat cockpit, with Piccard at the controls for the first flight to Arizona. He is tentatively scheduled to land in Phoenix at 1 a.m. local time on Saturday.
With the wingspan of a jumbo jet and the weight of a small car, the Solar Impulse is a test model for a more advanced aircraft the team plans to build to circumnavigate the globe in 2015.
The plane made its first intercontinental flight, from Spain.
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