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CNET News Video: Solar plane that can fly at night begins cross-country trip

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CNET News Video: Solar plane that can fly at night begins cross-country trip

1:44 /

The first plane to fly day and night on solar power took off Friday from Moffett Field in California, headed across the U.S. Two pilots will take turns flying 20-hour stretches apiece on the 5-leg trip, ending at New York's JFK Airport in early July. The Solar Impulse HB-SIA aircraft has the wingspan of a jumbo jet but the weight of a car, and will travel about 40 miles an hour.

-So now, without day, we're trying to do this, but on solar power with no fuel, with the first airplane that is able to fly day and night just on solar power. So, it's a fabulous way, I believe, to promote clean technologies, to show what our world could do if we're really applying these technologies everywhere in our world. We have to understand that the technologies we have on board, if they were globally used everywhere, also on the ground, could help our world to divide by two: its energy consumption, and provide half of the rest with renewable sources. -At the beginning, when we started to fly this airplane, we had-- it was not too difficult to fly. It was very difficult to land because we were over-correcting, we wanted to be in total control of what this airplane was doing, and because of being impatient, we were always over-reacting. We had to learn that we need to slow down our wheel, if I can put it this way. And when we understood that, it started to be feasible, and that was the time to do the first flight.

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