National

Jul 6, 2013 8:22 PM by Monica Gouty

Solar plane has setback on history-making flight

WASHINGTON (AP) - Officials say solar-powered aircraft on the final leg of a history-making cross-country flight toward New York City has a tear on the left wing and will land earlier than scheduled.

Solar Impulse engineers say they don't believe the eight-foot tear on the fabric of the lower side of the left wing will worsen. Solar Impulse says the tear does not appear to pose any danger to the pilot or the airplane.

Officials say the plane will likely land around 11 p.m. Saturday at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.

The tear was noticed on pictures taken from a helicopter sometime after the airplane left Dulles International Airport on Saturday morning.

The aircraft is powered by some 11,000 solar cells. It soars to 30,000 feet while poking along at a top speed of 45 mph. It left San Francisco in early May.

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