Weather delays solar plane’s departure
Swiss pilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Boschberg (R) pose in front of the Solar Impulse 2, a solar-powered plane, at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport, in Ahmedabad on Wednesday.
Solar Impulse-2, claimed to be the world’s first ‘no fuel’ aircraft, which arrived here on a round-the-world trip on March 10, has delayed its departure because of cloudy weather conditions.
“The aircraft will remain at the city airport until Tuesday owing to bad weather conditions,” Sardar Vallabhbhai International Airport Director R.K. Singh said.
“D-4 (departure minus four) before RTW (Round the world) Flight 3 from Ahmedabad to Varanasi, India,” said Solar Impulse-2 project’s Twitter handle.
The aircraft does not use “a drop of fuel,” according to the project website. It runs on lithium batteries charged by solar cells on its wings.
Many parts of Gujarat, including Ahmedabad, have had unseasonal rain and overcast skies in the last two days.
Meteorological Centre, Ahmedabad, said the State was likely to witness light rains and thundershowers for another two days due to “upper air-cyclonic circulation that lies over South Pakistan and adjoining west Rajasthan.”
The aircraft started its journey on March 9 from Abu Dhabi. Swiss pilot Bertrand Piccard flew the plane from Muscat to Ahmedabad on Tuesday night after a 15-hour flight.
Both Mr. Piccard and Andre Borschberg, the project’s founders and pilots, are in the city at present. From Varanasi, the SI-2 would fly on to Mandalay in Myanmar, Chongqing and Nanjing in China and thereon to the U.S.
The visitors also included people from aeronautics and aviation sectors who wanted to understand the technological aspect of SI2, he said.
The plane’s team briefed the visitors about the aircraft and also interacted with the children, Lay added.
Some teenagers were seen taking ‘selfies’ with the SI2 and its crew to save it as a life-long memory.
The SI2 project team also tweeted about the people’s visit at the city airport.
“Thousands of Indian citizens are coming to Si2 in Ahmedabad, India today! We extended the visit time!,” it said on its twitter handle.
“Schools are coming today to visit solar impulse. Great to see so many children inspired with a smile on their face,” it further said.
Swiss pilot Bertrand Piccard, who led the flight from Muscat to Ahmedabad on Tuesday night, also tweeted saying, “India giving its voice for a clean future! Be a part of it: http://futureisclean.org ! FutureIsClean.”
The globe-trotting ‘Solar Impulse 2’ landed here 15 hours after it took off from Muscat.
Piccard and Andre Borschberg, the project co-founder and pilot of SI2, are in the city since Tuesday and likely to stay till tomorrow before leaving for Varanasi.
From Varanasi, the SI2 would go to Mandalay in Myanmar as well as Chongqing and Nanjing in China and thereafter to USA, as per information available on Solar Impulse project’s website.