Solar Impulse Lands In St. Louis

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A month after its departure from San Francisco, Solar Impulse on Tuesday landed in St. Louis, marking the fourth stop on its six-stop flight across the U.S. The unique solar-powered airplane previously landed in Phoenix and Dallas, and plans to stop next in Washington, D.C., and New York. The latest leg of the trip, with Bertrand Piccard at the controls, lasted 21 hours and 21 minutes and covered 562 nautical miles. The advance crew for the first time used an inflatable hangar that was designed for the project's planned 2015 round-the-world flight, after the planned hangar space in St. Louis was damaged by storms over the weekend.

The aircraft made an average groundspeed of 26.3 knots on its latest leg, and flew as high as 24,000 feet. The public can register online to visit the aircraft at the Lambert-St. Louis airport during open hours on Thursday and Friday. Solar Impulse is expected to fly to Washington in mid-June. The Udvar-Hazy Center, located in Chantilly, Va., near Dulles airport, hopes to host Solar Impulse and about 50 other aircraft for a special exhibit on Become A Pilot Day on June 15. The aircraft is expected to land at JFK airport in New York in early July.