Los Angeles / AFP
The Solar Impulse 2 took off from Phoenix, Arizona to Oklahoma on Thursday, resuming its record-breaking quest to circle the globe without consuming a drop of fuel.
The experimental solar-powered plane, piloted by Swiss adventurer Bertrand Piccard, took off for the latest stage of its around-the-world flight aimed at drawing attention to clean energy technologies.
The flight to the city of Tulsa is expected to take 17.5 hours.
The plane is set to make one or two more stops in the US before finally landing in New York City, in the latest leg of their journey that kicked off on March 9, 2015.
“The objective is to reach New York as soon as possible!” the Solar Impulse 2 team said in a statement Wednesday, though it is not clear when they might reach the city.
After crossing the US, Piccard and his teammate Andre Borschberg are set to make a trans-Atlantic flight to Europe, from where they plan to make their way back to their point of departure in Abu Dhabi.
The Solar Impulse 2 was grounded in July last year when its batteries suffered problems halfway through its 21,700-mile (35,000-kilometer) circumnavigation.
The crew took several months to repair the damage from high tropical temperatures during the flight’s final Pacific stage, a 4,000-mile (6,437-kilometer) flight between Nagoya, Japan and Hawaii.
The aircraft was flown on that stage by Piccard’s teammate Andre Borschberg, whose 118-hour journey smashed the previous record of 76 hours and 45 minutes set by US adventurer Steve Fossett in 2006.
The plane is expected to cross the US, stopping in New York before a trans-Atlantic flight to Europe, from where the pilots plan to make their way back to the point of departure in Abu Dhabi.
It is a Swiss long-range experimental solar-powered aircraft project, and also the name of the project’s two operational aircraft. The privately financed project is led by Swiss engineer and businessman Andre Borschberg and Swiss psychiatrist and aeronaut Bertrand Piccard, who co-piloted Breitling Orbiter 3, the first balloon to circle the world non-stop.