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Solar plane begins epic journey, to land in India today

tech reviews Updated: Mar 10, 2015 02:15 IST
Vanita Srivastava
Abu Dhabi

A solar-powered plane set off from Abu Dhabi Monday on a bid to make the first round-the-world tour, a marathon journey that will test its pilots’ endurance to the limit.

The world’s only solar powered single-seater aircraft, Solar Impulse (Si2) will make its first stop over in India in Ahmedabad on Tuesday.

Another stopover in India is at Varansi in Uttar Pradesh where it will hover over river Ganga to spread a message of cleanliness and clean energy.

It landed Monday in Oman, completing the initial leg. It touched down in Muscat after nightfall, 13 hours and two minutes after taking off from Abu Dhabi.

The Swiss solar-powered aircraft’s flight got delayed by a day due to bad weather conditions in the UAE. The aircraft was scheduled to land in Ahmedabad on Monday, a release said.

After landing in Ahmedabad, the aircraft’s founders and pilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg will stay in the city for a couple of days before leaving for Varanasi. It will leave for Varanasi on Sunday.

“The pit stops and longer stays have been pre­determined but are subject to weather and technical issues,” said an official spokesperson, adding that from Varanasi the plane would head on to Mandalay, Myanmar.

The pilots have undergone intensive training in preparation for the trip, including in yoga and self-hypnosis, allowing them to sleep for periods as short as 20 minutes but to wake up feeling refreshed, organisers said.

(with agency inputs)