Solar Impulse lands in New York

July 7, 2013 at 8:24 AM
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NEW YORK, July 7 (UPI) -- The solar-powered Solar Impulse plane has landed in New York, bringing its journey across the United States to an end, the company announced.

The Dutch-made plane landed at the John F. Kennedy Airport 11:09 p.m. Saturday after a more than 18 hour flight from Washington, D.C., Solar Impulse said in a news release.

Pilot and Solar Impulse Co-founder and CEO Andre Borschberg said he landed the plane earlier than planned because of a rip in the fabric on the left wing of the plane.

"This last leg was especially difficult due to the damage of the fabric on the left wing. It obliged the team to envisage all the possible scenarios, including bailing out over the Atlantic. But this type of problem is inherent to every experimental endeavor. In the end, this didn't prevent us from succeeding in our Across America mission and provided an invaluable learning experience in preparation for the round-the-world tour in 2015," Borschberg said shortly after landing. "We extend our gratitude to all airport and government authorities whose precious support made this mission possible."

Solar Impulse's journey began May 3 in San Francisco. Before reaching New York City, Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard, Solar Impulse initiator, chairman and pilot, alternately flew the plane to Phoenix, Dallas-Fort Worth, St. Louis, Cincinnati and Washington D.C.

The entire journey took 105 hours and 41 minutes.

"Flying coast-to-coast has always been a mythical milestone full of challenges for aviation pioneers. During this journey, we had to find solutions for a lot of unforeseen situations, which obliged us to develop new skills and strategies. In doing so, we also pushed the boundaries of clean technologies and renewable energies to unprecedented levels," Piccard said.

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