MOUNTAIN VIEW (KCBS) – A plane with the wingspan of a jumbo jet lifted off from Moffett Field Friday morning to attempt an historic cross-country journey using only solar power.

Dozens of aviation enthusiasts and journalists snapped pictures and marveled at the slow and steady takeoff of the Swiss-made Solar Impulse experimental plane just after 6:000 a.m. Friday. Takeoff was clocked at approximately 22 miles per hour.

The Solar Impulse, powered by some 12,000 photovoltaic cells covering its massive wings, is on the first leg of a trip across the country. The plane has planned 10-day stops in Phoenix, Dallas, Washington before heading to New York.

Each leg was expected to take nearly an entire day. The aircraft is designed to fly at nighttime using batteries charged during the day by the sun.

The goal of the flight is to showcase the potential of solar power.  More on the project can be found at

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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