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Solar Impulse 2 Completes Arizona-to-Oklahoma Leg of World Tour | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Solar Impulse 2. Reuters

An experimental airplane powered solely by energy from the sun has landed in Oklahoma after taking off from Arizona on the latest leg of its around-the-world journey.

The Swiss-made Solar Impulse 2 took off from Phoenix Goodyear Airport about 3 a.m. Thursday. It landed without incident at Tulsa International Airport around 11:15 p.m., the Tulsa World reported.

Swiss aviator Bertrand Piccard called the 1,000-mile (1,609 km) trip “a magical flight” on his Twitter account.
The long hours required for covering relatively short distances showed how slowly the single-seat plane flies compared with conventional aircraft.

It departed from northern California in the early hours of May 2 and landed at the airport southwest of Phoenix 16 hours later. Last month, it flew from Hawaii to California.

The globe-circling voyage began in March 2015 from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, and made stops in Oman, Myanmar, China and Japan.

After Oklahoma, the plane is expected to make at least one more stop in the United States before crossing the Atlantic Ocean to Europe or northern Africa, according to the website documenting the journey.

The newspaper reported the crew likely will have to stay in Tulsa a few days to wait out the weather.

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.

Ideal flight speed is about 28 mph, although that can double during the day when the sun’s rays are strongest.