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Solar Impulse 2 scheduled to take off from Allentown tonight

Written by Ben Allen and Radio Pennsylvania | Jun 10, 2016 3:22 PM
solar_plane2.jpg

In this photo provided by Solar Impulse, "Solar Impulse 2," lands at at Tulsa International Airport, late Thursday, May 12, 2016 in Tulsa, Oka. The Swiss-made Solar Impulse 2 took off from Phoenix Goodyear Airport about early Thursday and landed without incident at Tulsa International Airport. 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. (Jean Revillard/Solar Impulse via AP)

(Allentown) -- A solar-powered aircraft hopes to resume its round-the-world flight when it's scheduled to take off tonight from the Lehigh Valley.

The plane -- Solar Impulse 2 -- has captured the attention of aviation geeks, but also just people who are curious.

It's been parked at the Lehigh Valley International Airport since May 25th because of weather conditions and routine maintenance. 

"We can't have storms in the way of rain, hail that would be really a risk for the plane. When we are starting to fly or departing or arriving, we can't have too strong ground winds, above ten knots" says Elke Neumann spokeswoman for Solar Impulse 2.

The aircraft is set to take off around 11 tonight en route to New York.

Dr. Bertrand Piccard and Andre Boschburg, who put together the idea, want to become the first people to circle the globe in a fully solar-powered plane.

Neumann with the Solar Impulse 2 team says the mission is not just focused on aviation.

She adds: "The aim is really to show what is possible in the air, what is possible in the sky, what we can do with solar energy, with clean technology, people can also do on the ground. So if a plane can fly with solar technology, with clean technology, why not do things on the ground?"

Solar Impulse 2 has 17,000 solar cells in the wings and fuselage.

Its wingspan is longer than a 747, but it weighs about the same as a standard SUV, with average speed of between 50 and 75 mph. 

Solar Impluse 2 first started its journey in Abu Dhabi in March 2015.

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