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Solar-powered plane lands in Ohio

Posted: 11:37 PM, May 21, 2016
Updated: 2016-05-22 03:38:16Z

DAYTON, Ohio -- A solar-powered airplane has landed in Dayton, Ohio, on the latest leg of its around-the-world journey.

The Swiss-made Solar Impulse 2 landed in Dayton, Ohio, late Saturday after taking off from Tulsa International Airport before 5 a.m. The flight to Dayton International Airport took 17 hours, as the plane had an average speed of 41 miles per hour during the trip.

The globe-circling voyage began in March 2015 from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, and made stops in Oman, Myanmar, China and Japan.

The plan has a 240-foot wingspan and weighs less than a family car. It stores enough energy during the day so that it can run at night, needing to stop only for the pilot to rest.

Swiss pilot Bertrand Piccard, one of two who fly the Solar Impluse 2, was also first to fly around the world in a hot air balloon, and he said that journey helped inspire the solar plane’s creation.

“During 20 days, I was afraid of being short on gas, and this is when I started to think of a way to fly perpetually without gas, without fuel, and be able to stay in the air forever,” Piccard said.

The plane is expected to make at least one more stop in the United States - in New York - before crossing the Atlantic Ocean to Europe or northern Africa, according to the website documenting the journey.

Piccard, who will fly the plane during the next leg of the journey, said he hoped the plane and its flight around the world would show people the power of clean energy.

"We can use this clean technology for electrical mobility, to insulate their house to have better heating systems, more efficient cooling systems," Piccard said.

He added that he hoped it would also inspire the next generation to continue innovating.

"Children have a dream, and you have to tell them: 'Look, it's possible.' If you have perseverance, if you have respect, if you have curiosity, you can do something different," Piccard said. "You can do something new."