Solar plane prepares for flight across America

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Solar powered aircraft "Solar Impulse" (AP Photo)

Solar powered aircraft “Solar Impulse” (AP Photo)

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (AP) — A solar-powered plane that has delighted aviation fans in Europe is preparing to fly across North America.

The Swiss creators of the Solar Impulse plan to announce Thursday which U.S. cities the experimental plane will visit during its “Across America” tour that kicks off in May.

Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg will display the aircraft and discuss the cross-country voyage at a news conference at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View.

The Solar Impulse is powered by about 12,000 photovoltaic cells that cover its massive wings and allow it to fly day and night without jet fuel. It has the wing span of a commercial airplane but the weight of a family car, making it vulnerable to bad weather.

Solar Impulse is planning an around-the-world flight in 2015.

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