Solar-powered plane lands at Dulles


Solar Impulse pilot Bertrand Piccard waves after landing the plane at Dulles International Airport on Sunday. Andre Borschberg, who also has flown part of the trip, greets Piccard on the runway. (Jean Revillard/Solar Impulse via Reuters)

Solar Impulse, the first solar-powered plane that can fly at night, landed at Dulles International Airport on Sunday as part of its first U.S. cross-country trip.

The plane landed at 12:15 a.m. after taking off a little after 10 a.m. Saturday from Cincinnati, Ohio. Bertrand Piccard piloted the one-seat aircraft, which flies about 40 miles per hour.

The airplane uses no fuel. Its wings are covered with 12,000 photovoltaic cells that charge its batteries during the day. Its wings are long — 208 feet — but skinny. The entire plane weighs only about as much as a small car.

Visitors to the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center were able to look at the plane Sunday. A second viewing is scheduled for Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The plane’s cross-country trip began May 3 in San Francisco. Dulles was its last stop before reaching New York by early July.

The Solar Impulse team aims to fly a similar plane around the world in 2015.

Staff and wire reports

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