Business

05.03.13

Solar Plane That Can Fly Day and Night Takes Off

A solar-powered plane that can fly through the night has started its slow transcontinental journey.

The first electric plane that can fly both day and night with only the power from the sun’s rays began its first transcontinental flight Friday. The Sunseeker Duo from Solar Flight is flying from San Francisco to its final destination in Washington, D.C.—it’s expected to touch-down there mid-June—stopping at Phoenix, Dallas, and St. Louis along the way.

The plane can theoretically fly continuously, but its pilots will only fly it at 12 hour spans.  The Sunseeker has the wingspan of a 747 and a body the same size as a sedan. But although its creators hope to eventually sell it commercially, the plane has its limitations. It cruises at 43 miles per hour and has about a 10 horsepower engine, no larger than the Wright brothers' original vessel. It also can’t land in choppy conditions or fly through clouds.

You can follow the solar plane’s journey across the U.S. live at Yahoo! News. Click here.