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Solar Impulse lands in Pennsylvania on latest leg of global voyage

Solar Impulse 2 has completed the latest leg of its round-the-world solar-powered record attempt. A 17-hour flight brought the aircraft to the US east coast.

After taking off from Dayton, Ohio early on Wednesday, the plane arrived at 8:49 pm (0049 UTC Thursday) at Lehigh Valley International Airport in Pennsylvania after a flight that lasted just under 17 hours, a live video feed showed. The aircraft was piloted by Swiss explorer Bertrand Piccard.

Solar Impulse 2 is entirely powered by solar energy collected in batteries during flight. The flight around the world is to promote renewable energy by consuming no fuel.

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

The plane's departure from Dayton was delayed from Monday as checks were made for possible damage after fans that keep the mobile hangar inflated had a power failure.

Solar Impulse 2 pilot Bertrand Piccard

Solar Impulse 2 pilot Bertrand Piccard

The voyage began in March 2015 from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and made stops in Oman, India, Myanmar, China and Japan before

arriving in the US.

The wings of Solar Impulse 2 are wider than those of a Boeing 747. They are equipped with 17,000 solar cells that power propellers and charge batteries. The plane runs on stored energy at night.

Its ideal speed is only 45 kmh (28 mph), but it can go twice as fast during the day, when the sun gives it a boost.

cw/xx (AFP, AP)

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