Solar Aircraft
5:04 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

St. Louis Selected As Midwest Stop For Solar-Powered Aircraft

St. Louis will be a pit stop for the first solar-powered flight across America. It was announced Tuesday that Lambert Airport is one of five airports selected for Solar Impulse's cross-country flight.

"We are the city forever linked to Charles Lindbergh nearly 90 years ago," St. Louis mayor Francis Slay said. "This year we recognize that there are new milestones and advances to witness, and St. Louis will be part of that inspiring story."

Solar Impulse will start in San Francisco, with stops in Phoenix and Dallas before coming to St. Louis. Then the Swiss-made craft will make its way to DC and finally New York, all without using any fuel.

Lambert director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge said St. Louis edged out Chicago for the spot.

"Sometimes big is not always better,"  Hamm-Niebruegge said. "We knew we could get them in and out without any delays, and we knew the city would come out in support and sometimes in larger cities it could get lost in the shuffle."

The flight should happen in late May or early June, and the plane will be in St. Louis for a few days. 

The aircraft has the wingspan of a jumbo jet, and is powered by 12,000 solar cells, which charge during the day and allows the plane to fly even at night. Despite its size, it weighs about as much as a small car, and only has room for one: the pilot.

Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter@csmcdaniel