On a Wing and a Photon: Solar Impulse Flies Across America

A solar-powered plane flies across the country to fire people up about renewable energy.

On May 3, Swiss psychiatrist and adventurer Bertrand Piccard settled into the one-man cockpit of a spindly plane with the wingspan of a 747. The propellers started, and he eased down the runway near San Francisco Bay. As the sun rose, he turned southeast toward Phoenix, 18 hours and 18 minutes away. 

Piccard could have driven to Phoenix faster. But his plane, the Solar Impulse HB-SIA, is meant to go slow.


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