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Solar Plane Lands Safely in Oklahoma

Swiss pilot Bertrand Piccard (R) and alternate pilot Andre Boschberg, also of Switzerland, wave in front of Solar Impulse 2 (Si2), the solar-powered plane, after landing at Tulsa International Airport, Oklahoma, U.S. May 12, 2016.

The solar-powered airplane Solar Impulse 2 completed the latest leg of its around-the-world trip, landing Thursday night in the south-central U.S. state of Oklahoma.

Solar Impulse 2 arrived safely Thursday night after taking off earlier in the day from the western U.S. state of Arizona -- the flight's 11th leg.

The plane's flight speed is about 45 kph (28 mph). Its speed can double during the day when the sun's rays are strongest.

Earlier this week, a string of tornadoes and storms hit Oklahoma. Governor Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency for 15 counties after tornadoes killed two people and left severe damage in parts of the state.

Solar Impulse 2 dodged the bad weather Thursday but will likely stay put for a few days until the weather clears.

Rest of journey

After Oklahoma, the plane is expected to make at least one more stop in the United States before crossing the Atlantic Ocean to Europe or northern Africa, according to the website documenting the journey.

Their ultimate goal is to make it back to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates where the trip began in March 2015. The plane has also made stops along the way in Oman, Myanmar, China and Japan.

The crew was forced to stay nine months in Oahu, Hawaii, after the plane's battery system sustained heat damage on its five-day flight from Japan.

Swiss pilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg, who are sharing navigating duties during the historic trip, finally were able to take off again April 21 for a three-day trip from Hawaii to California's Silicon Valley.

The 17,000 solar cells built into the wings of Solar Impulse 2 harness the sun's energy and charge onboard batteries.

Organizers say the flight is to show the possibilities of clean energy technology.