Solar Impulse 2 completes short hop to Pennsylvania

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Solar Impulse 2 coming into land at LeHigh Valley(Credit: Solar Impulse)

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Solar Impulse 2 has completed the 13th leg of its solar-powered around the world flight, touching down at LeHigh Valley International Airport in Pennsylvania. With Bertrand Piccard piloting, the single-seater aircraft reached its destination at 8:49 pm CDT after a near 17-hour flight from Dayton, Ohio.

Today's flight came a day after the announcement by Solar Impulse that the leg faced postponement due to an accident caused by a power failure in the bespoke inflatable hangar used to house the aircraft caused it to partly collapse. The fabric of the hangar briefly touched plane's wings and fuselage. Due to the fragile nature of the lightweight craft, engineers feared that some damage may have occurred.

According to Solar impulse, the aircraft subsequently passed a safety inspection and was cleared to take off at 4:02 am CDT. The 1,032 km (641 mi) flight passed without incident and the night landing came about 10 minutes ahead of schedule.

Cockpit view of Solar Impulse 2 landing(Credit: Solar Impulse)

Solar Impulse 2 started its around the world attempt in Abu Dhabi in Mark 2015. After being grounded in Hawaii for several months due to battery damage caused by overheating, the aircraft completed a record-breaking Pacific Ocean crossing last month after a 62-hour flight.

Weather permitting, Solar Impulse 2 will continue on to New York's JFK International Airport, followed by a transatlantic crossing to Europe or North Africa before returning to its starting point.

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