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Solar Impulse makes flight across America (pictures)

The solar-powered airplane is on a coast-to-coast voyage across the U.S. to promote the viability of clean energy.

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Carrie Mihalcik
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1 of 29 Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch

Touchdown in Washington

Solar Impulse co-founder and CEO André Borschberg watches as the solar-powered plane touches down at Washington Dulles International Airport.

The Solar Impulse HB-SIA started its journey across America at Moffett Field in Mountain View, Calif., on May 3. On a mission to promote clean technology and renewable energy, the solar-powered plane has made stops in Phoenix, Dallas, St. Louis, and Washington. The fifth and final leg of the flight will end at JFK airport in New York in early July.

In the slideshow that follows, you can look at each leg of the Solar Impulse's flight across America.

Editors' note: This slideshow was first published on June 14, 2013. It was updated later in June with photos of the Solar Impulse's flight from St. Louis to Washington.

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2 of 29 Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch

Piccard waves in D.C.

Bertrand Piccard, chairman and co-founder of Solar Impulse, waves after completing the fourth leg of the coast-to-coast voyage.

Piccard landed in Washington just after midnight on June 16. It took him more than 14 hours to make the flight from Cincinnati.

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3 of 29 Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch

Leaving Cincinnati

Piccard takes off from Cincinnati Municipal Lunken Airport at 10:11 a.m. ET on June 15.

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4 of 29 Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch

Piccard in the cockpit

Piccard sits in the cockpit just before taking off for Washington.

The fourth leg of the journey -- from St. Louis to Washington -- was split into two flights to avoid "strong cross and head winds" that would have slowed down the HB-SIA.

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5 of 29 Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch

Runway in Cincinnati

The ground crew for the Solar Impulse tows the plane onto a runway at the Cincinnati Municipal Lunken Airport. Takeoff from Cincinnati was slightly delayed because of lingering fog patches over the airport.

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6 of 29 Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch

Aviation history

Borschberg and Piccard meet Steve Wright (center), the great-grand nephew of the Wright brothers, while in Cincinnati.

Wilbur and Orville Wright, brothers from Dayton, Ohio, built the world's first airplane to make a heavier than air, powered controlled flight. In December of 1903 the Wright Flyer made four flights at Kitty Hawk, N.C., the best of which covered 852 feet in 59 seconds.

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7 of 29 Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch

Checking out Solar Impulse

Crowds get a chance to check out the Solar Impulse HB-SIA airplane during its short stay in Cincinnati.

The HB-SIA plane has 12,000 solar cells built into its wings that charge lithium batteries. This enables the plane to fly both day and night for up 26 hours at a stretch. It has the wingspan of a large passenger jet, at 208 feet, and the weight of a small car at 3,527 pounds.

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8 of 29 Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch

Landing in Cincinnati

Borschberg lands in Cincinnati at 8:15 p.m. ET on June 14.
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9 of 29 Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch

Solar Impulse heads to D.C.

The Solar Impulse takes off from St. Louis early in the morning on June 14 with Borschberg at the controls.

Before heading all the way to Washington, D.C., the plane will make a pit stop at Cincinnati Municipal Lunken Airport to avoid "challenging weather."

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10 of 29 Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch

Borschberg climbs into the cockpit

Borschberg took off from Lambert-St.Louis International Airport at 4:01 a.m. CT on Friday. When he completes the roughly 10-hour flight to Cincinnati, pilot and Solar Impulse co-founder Bertrand Piccard will take over for the rest of the leg to Washington.
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11 of 29 Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch

Borschberg chats with press

Borschberg chats with the press before taking off from St. Louis.
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12 of 29 Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch

Ground crew performs checks

The ground crew for the Solar Impulse performs checks on the plane Friday morning before the start of the fourth leg of its journey across the U.S.
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13 of 29 Jean Revillard | Rezo | SolarImpulse | Polaris

Solar impulse lands in St. Louis

The Solar Impulse comes in for a smooth landing at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport early in the morning on June 4, finishing up the third leg of its coast-to-coast voyage.

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14 of 29 Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch

Piccard after a safe landing

Pilot Bertrand Piccard took off from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and was in the air for 21 hours and 21 minutes. It was his longest flight to date.

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15 of 29 Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch

Piccard waves after landing

Piccard, who is also chairman and co-founder of Solar Impulse, waves after landing in St. Louis.

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16 of 29 Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch

Stored in an inflatable hangar

While in St. Louis the aircraft was stored in an inflatable mobile hanger designed by Solar Impulse for its planned flight around the world in 2015. It was the first time the hanger was used in real conditions.

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17 of 29 Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch

Taking off in Dallas

Borschberg waves goodbye as the Solar Impulse, with Piccard at the controls, takes off for St. Louis. The more than 600-mile flight to St. Louis took Piccard 21 hours and 22 minutes to complete.

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18 of 29 Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch

Landing in Dallas

Solar Impulse comes in for a landing at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport in Dallas, Texas, on May 23. André Borschberg, Solar Impulse co-founder and CEO, piloted this leg of the cross-country voyage.

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19 of 29 Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch

Borschberg arrives in Dallas

The 936-mile flight, from Phoenix to Dallas, broke the world distance record in the solar aviation category of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI). It took Borschberg over 18 hours to complete this third leg of the flight across America.

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20 of 29 Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch

Borschberg and Piccard talk with the press

Borschberg (right) and Piccard (center), who are taking turns flying the HB-SIA airplane across the country, speak with the press in Dallas.

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21 of 29 Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch

Hanging around in Phoenix

Solar Impulse in a hangar in Phoenix before the third leg of the coast-to-coast journey.

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22 of 29 Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch

Going to Dallas

Borschberg at the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport getting ready to fly to Dallas.

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23 of 29 Solar Impulse | Revillard | Rezo.ch

Tail of the Solar Impulse

Partners of Solar Impulse -- including Solvay, Schindler, Omega and Deutsche Bank -- are shown on the tail of the HB-SIA airplane. The Solar Impulse project officially launched in 2003. After years of designing and refining, the HB-SIA made the first flight at night in solar aviation history in 2010.

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24 of 29 Solar Impulse | Merz | Rezo.ch

Landing in Phoenix

The Solar Impulse lands at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport.

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25 of 29 Solar Impulse | Merz | Rezo.ch

First leg is over

Borschberg and Piccard after the Solar Impulse lands in Phoenix.

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View from the cockpit

A view from the cockpit as the Solar Impulse flies from Mountain View, Calif., to Phoenix. The HB-SIA has four pods fixed under its wings, each with a twin-bladed propeller, an electric motor, a polymer lithium battery, and a management system that controls charge and temperature.

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27 of 29 Solar Impulse

Piccard in the cockpit

Piccard in the cockpit of the Solar Impulse during the first leg of the flight.

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28 of 29 Solar Impulse | Merz | Rezo.ch

The journey begins

Piccard took off from Moffett Airfield at 6:12 a.m. PT on May 3, officially starting the first leg of the Solar Impulse flight across America. The first leg took more than 18 hours to complete.

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29 of 29 Solar Impulse | Merz | Rezo.ch

Final check

Borschberg joins Piccard for a final check before taking off from Moffett Airfield at the Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif.

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