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Solar aircraft on a world tour lands in Ahmedabad

Source: PTI
March 11, 2015 09:35 IST
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Image: Solar Impulse 2, the world's first airplane flying on solar energy, lands in Ahmedabad on March 10, 2015. Photograph: Jean Revillard/ Reuters
 

Solar Impulse 2, claimed to be the world's only solar-powered aircraft, which is on an around-the-world journey, landed in Ahmedabad on Tuesday. 

It hovered in the sky over the city for more than 30 minutes before it landed at the Sardar Vallabhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad at 11.25 p.m., fifteen hours after it took off from Muscat this morning. 

"Congratulations to @bertrandpiccard from mission control in Monaco. Landing 11.25 pm local time," Solar Impulse's Twitter handle posted. 

Image Swiss pilots Bertrand Piccard (L) and Andre Boschberg (R) pose after Piccard landed the "Solar Impulse 2". Photograph: Amit Dave/ Reuters
 

"This project is about saving energy, so making the plane light is paramount," said project co-founder and co-pilot of SI-2 Andre Borschberg. 

"Ahmedabad is a very important stop...I am impressed by Gujarat's dynamism in terms of renewables," said Borschberg who reached the city earlier, while the SI-2 was flown by co-founder Bertrand Piccard from Muscat. 

Image: A member of the ground staff holds a wind protector pipe of the "Solar Impulse 2", a solar powered plane, after it landed at the airport in Ahmedabad March 11, 2015. Photograph: Amit Dave/ Reuters
 

Piccard and Borschberg are likely to stay in the city for two to three days before leaving for Varanasi. 

The aircraft is also likely to hover above Ganga river in Varanasi to spread the message of cleanliness and clean energy, an official associated with the project said. 

Image: Solar Impulse is claimed to be the first aircraft to fly day and night without a drop of fuel. Photograph: Jean Revillard / Reuters
 

Solar Impulse is claimed to be the first aircraft to fly day and night without a drop of fuel, propelled solely by the sun's energy. The single-seater aircraft, made of carbon fibre, has a 72 meter wingspan, larger than that of Boeing-747 and weighs only 2,300 kg. 

The 17,248 solar cells on the wing recharge four lithium polymer batteries weighing 633 kg each, which allow the aircraft to fly at night. 

Image: Ground staff push the "Solar Impulse 2", a solar powered plane, into a hangar after it landed at the airport in Ahmedabad March 11, 2015. Amit Dave/Reuters
 

It reached Muscat on Tuesday. It took nearly 13 hours to reach Muscat from Abu Dhabi. 

From Varanasi, it will fly to Mandalay in Myanmar and Chongqing and Nanjing in China and thereon to the Unites States.

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