On Friday, according to a report aired by the CBS Evening News (5/3, story 7, 0:25, Pelley), a solar-powered airplane "took flight...on the first journey across America. The 'Solar Impulse' needed help to get started but then the sun took over." The first leg of the journey, from northern California to Phoenix, "will take about 19 hours, at a cruising speed of 43 miles an hour."
ABC World News (5/3, story 8, 0:20, Muir) broadcast that the aircraft is the "most advanced sun-powered plane ever, capable of flying day and night without any fuel at all." But the plane is "no jet," as it "flies only about 40 miles an hour." And "we're told it cannot fly through the clouds."
After noting that two aviators are on the plane that took off on Friday, the NBC Nightly News (5/3, story 9, 2:35, Williams) broadcast, "If all goes well, they will be the first to fly across America in an all solar-powered plane." NBC added, "Andre Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard are the Swiss visionaries and pilots taking turns in the cockpit, hoping to put wings on a revolution in solar and green technology."
Solar-Powered Plane Finishes First Leg Of Cross-Country Flight: The CBS Evening News (5/4, story 8, 0:25, Axelrod) reported, "So far, so good for the 'Solar Impulse.'" The solar-powered plane that is attempting to fly across the US finished "its first leg" early Saturday morning, and arrived in Phoenix "18 hours and 18 minutes after taking off in San Francisco." The plane's 12,000 solar cells on its wings worked to recharge "the batteries that allow it to fly at night."
ABC World News (5/4, story 9, 1:10, Muir) noted that the "cutting-edge plane" has "a wingspan of a 747 and, again, it needs no fuel."
The AP (5/5, Bryan, Seavey) also notes the successful initial leg, piloted by Bertrand Piccard, who flew the plane for its first 20 hours of flight. During its first leg the average speed of the plane was around "60 knots with a tail wind."
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