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June 16, 2013

Solar Plane Nears End of Cross-Continent Flight

by VOA News

A solar-powered plane nearing the end of a cross-continental journey landed early Sunday at Dulles International Airport outside Washington.

The aircraft, the Solar Impulse, began its journey May 3 in San Francisco and has made stops in Arizona, Texas, Missouri and Ohio, staying several days in cities along the way.

The Solar Impulse is powered by about 12,000 photovoltaic cells that cover its enormous 63-meter wings and charge its batteries during the day so it can fly at night. The single-seat plane is capable of flying about 65 kilometers per hour, but can not go through clouds or rain.

The sun-powered plane is expected to fly the last leg from Washington to New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport in early July.

Swiss pilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg have taken turns flying the plane and say they plan a worldwide attempt in 2015.