Solar Plane Lands in NYC, Wraps Epic Journey

Wing tear aborts planned fly-by of Statue of Liberty

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 7, 2013 6:18 AM CDT

(Newser) – The Solar Impulse sent its cross-continental odyssey into the history books last night, reports the AP, landing at New York's JFK Airport at 11:09pm to complete the journey's final leg. The plane, powered by about 11,000 solar cells and that glowing orb in the sky, left Dulles International Airport yesterday at 5am, and touched down three hours ahead of schedule last night after a fly-by of the Statue of Liberty was postponed by a tear in the wing. "It was a huge success for renewable energy," said pilot Andre Borschberg after landing. "The only thing that failed was a piece of fabric."

The journey, which did set a distance record, though certainly not any of the speed variety, began in California in May. "Flying coast-to-coast has always been a mythical milestone full of challenges for aviation pioneers," said Bertrand Piccoult, who also piloted the Impulse. "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." An upgraded version of the Impulse is slated to make a global voyage in 2015.

This May 22, 2013 file photo shows the Solar Impulse, piloted by Andr? Borschberg, taking flight at dawn in Phoenix.
This May 22, 2013 file photo shows the Solar Impulse, piloted by Andr? Borschberg, taking flight at dawn in Phoenix.   (AP Photo/Matt York)
In this Wednesday, May 22, 2013, file photo, the Solar Impulse, piloted by Andr? Borschberg, takes flight during the second leg of the 2013 Across America mission in Phoenix.
In this Wednesday, May 22, 2013, file photo, the Solar Impulse, piloted by Andr? Borschberg, takes flight during the second leg of the 2013 Across America mission in Phoenix.   (AP Photo/Matt York, File)
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