Solar Impulse 2, the experimental airplane powered solely by energy from the sun takes off from Dayton, Ohio, en route to Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, in a historic bid to fly around the globe without fuel. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: An experimental airplane powered solely by energy from the sun took off from Dayton, Ohio, on Wednesday (May 25), following a one-day delay for repairs. It's the latest leg of its historic bid by pilots and developers to fly around the globe without a drop of fuel. The single-seat Solar Impulse 2 aircraft, piloted by Bertrand Piccard, is due to land next in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. The takeoff had been originally scheduled for Tuesday (May 24), but was delayed after the fans that keep the mobile hangar inflated experienced a brief power failure, Solar Impulse's website said. However, crews were able to quickly repair it for a next day flight. With a wingspan exceeding that of a Boeing 747 but an ultra-light carbon-fibre skin and overall weight of a car, the Solar Impulse cruises at speeds ranging from 34 to 62 miles per hour (55 to 100 kph). The four engines of the propeller-driven aircraft are powered exclusively by energy collected from more than 17,000 solar cells built into its wings. Excess energy is stored in four batteries during daylight hours to keep the plane flying after dark. The plane can climb to 28,000 feet (8,500 meters), but generally flies at lower altitudes at night to conserve energy. Piccard and Andre Borschberg have been taking turns piloting the plane on each leg of the journey. Both have trained to stay alert for long stretches of time by practicing meditation and hypnosis.