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Pilot Bertrand Piccard Says Solar Impulse Is Vehicle For Change


Update:  The Solar Impulse project says all of its scheduled open houses for Saturday at DFW are full.  If they add other open houses the information will appear on their website

Solar Impulse touched down at DFW International early this morning at 1:08 a.m.  

The Phoenix-Dallas flight of more than 800 miles is the longest yet for the aircraft which is on a coast-to-coast trip to raise awareness about the capabilities of renewable energy.

  It’s powered by 12,000 solar panels which enable it to fly day and night without refueling.  It doesn’t move very fast. It’s speed was about 28 miles an hour as it made the 18- hour trip from Phoenix to Dallas.

But the plane is so lightweight it nearly defies the laws of physics. 

While it has the 210 foot wingspan of a jumbo jet it weighs about the same as a small car.

DFW is one stop on a coast-to-coast trip for Solar Impulse.

   Solar Impulse was developed by two Swiss aviation pioneers, Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg who take turns piloting the plane.

 Piccard comes from a family of famous explorers and was the first to complete a non-stop balloon flight around the world. 

During a conversation Wednesday Piccard  told KERA's  Shelley Kofler  Solar Impulse is another adventure but this time he has  a goal to create something useful for the planet.

Piccard says North Texans can take a close up look at Solar Impulse during several Open Houses planned for the upcoming weekend.

Former KERA staffer Shelley Kofler was news director, managing editor and senior reporter. She is an award-winning reporter and television producer who previously served as the Austin bureau chief and legislative reporter for North Texas ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.