Solar Impulse-2 takes off from Varanasi, on way to Myanmar

  • PTI, Varanasi
  • Updated: Mar 19, 2015 13:13 IST

The world's only 'no-fuel' solar-powered aircraft 'Solar Impulse-2' took off for Myanmar from Varanasi on Thursday, ending its week-long journey in India as part of the round-the-world trip.

The aircraft took off at around 5:22 am from Varanasi airport and is being flown by co-pilot and project President Bertrand Piccard.

The Solar Impulse-2 is currently flying the fourth leg.

The aircraft made a night stop in Varanasi for nearly 8 hours.

The aircraft touched down at the Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport at Babatpur on Wednesday shortly after 8:30 pm, completing an over 13 hour-long journey from Ahmedabad, where the plane and the crew had a week's stopover.

The aircraft maintained a minimum altitude of around 5,200 metres on its flight to Varanasi. It plane reached Ahmedabad on March 10 and was stationed there for six days before arriving in Varanasi.

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.

The Si2's round-the-world flight took off from Abu Dhabi in UAE last week. After halts in Oman and India, it is flying to Myanmar. Thereafter, it will fly to Chongqing and Nanjing in China.

Then it will cross the Pacific Ocean via Hawaii Islands and fly across the US with stops in Phoenix city in the Midwest and New York.

From there it will cross the Atlantic Ocean and the final leg would include a stopover in southern Europe or north Africa before returning to the starting point in Abu Dhabi by late July.

Watch: Solar Impulse 2 takes off from Varanasi towards Myanmar

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