Solar Pilot Halfway Across Country

From a Times Staff Writer

Despite strong head winds and rainstorms, a Riverside County man seeking to become the first person to fly a solar-powered plane across America has completed half his landmark journey.

Upon landing his homemade aircraft, the Sun-Seeker, at Medford, Okla., Monday evening, Eric Raymond had traveled 1,309 miles, said the pilot's Los Angeles-based spokesman, Jack Whitehouse.

Raymond, of Lake Elsinore, hopes to conclude his 2,300-mile transcontinental journey Saturday at Kitty Hawk, N.C., the birthplace of aviation.

Raymond, 33, a champion hang glider, took off Aug. 2 from the desert east of Palm Springs. His craft, made mostly of carbon fiber, has a wingspan of 55 feet and resembles a giant insect.

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