Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg, founders of Switzerland-based Solar Impulse, recently completed the first domestic coast-to-coast flight by a solar-powered aircraft.
The two flew from San Francisco to JFK International in New York in a little more than two months, with stops in Phoenix, Dallas, St. Louis and Washington, along the way.
The two made the flight in a far-from-typical aircraft. The Solar Impulse HB-SIA, which has a wingspan equal to that of an Airbus A340, but only flies at a average speed of 43 mph, is powered by thousands of silicon solar cells that create energy stored by state-of-the-art batteries.
This cross-country journey was a test run, of sorts. The company is currently building a second solar plane, the Solar Impulse HB-SIB, which will attempt a flight around the world between April and July 2015. Flight testing will begin in the spring of 2014. - Jon Ross