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Solar-powered Plane Again Aloft: Destination S.F.

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April 21, 2016

Solar Impulse 2 is in the air again, chasing a world record after a long layoff.

The solar-powered airplane's 17,000 photovoltaic cells dotting the plane's skin powers propellers and an electric motor during the day while also charging batteries that provide power during dark hours.

The latest leg of the planned circumnavigation is from Hawaii to San Francisco, flight engineers anticipate a landing on the United States mainland about 60 hours after takeoff.

Solar Impulse took off on March 9, 2015 from Abu Dhabi and then flew to India, Myanmar, China, and Japan, before embarking on the long journey over the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii. All of that flying took place during five days and five nights, setting a record for a nonstop solo airplane journey.

Solar Impulse landed in Hawaii on June 28, 2015. The plane's batteries overheated during the last leg of the flight, and operators had to wait many months for needed repairs.

Business partners Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg switch off flying duties.

The project began with a 24-hour test run in 2010.

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