Solar Impulse 2 reaches Oklahoma on 11th leg of circumnavigation

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Solar impulse 2 making its final approach to Tulsa(Credit: Solar impulse)

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With a night landing at Tulsa Airport, the solar-powered aircraft Solar Impulse 2 completed the 11th leg of its solar-electric circumnavigation. With Bertrand Piccard at the controls the one-man composite aircraft touched down at approximately 11:15 pm CDT after a slight delay due to a slow ascent caused by the aircraft's low power.

Today's flight began at 3:05 am MT when Solar Impulse 2 left Phoenix Goodyear Airport to take advantage of a weather window after a stay of about a week. The region between Phoenix and Tulsa is known as "tornado alley" and high winds and thunderstorms are common during the spring and summer, so weather was an important factor in the timing.

Solar Impulse 2 covered 1,540 km (957 mi) over the 18 hours of flight time during which an array of solar panels provided power to the electric motors that drive the props in the daytime with lithium batteries taking over in the hours of darkness.

Solar Impulse patron Prince Albert of Monaco attended the landing(Credit: Solar impulse)

Solar Impulse 2's around the world flight began in March 2015, when it took off from Abu Dhabi. After a record-breaking Pacific Ocean crossing, it was grounded in Hawaii for several months due to battery damaged caused by overheating, but resumed its journey in April of this year and reached California on April after a 62-hour flight.

Solar Impulse 2 will continue on to New York, followed by a transatlantic crossing to Europe or North Africa before making its way back to its starting point.

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