World’s first solar-powered aircraft lands in Ahmedabad

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Ahmedabad | Published: March 12, 2015 3:42:12 AM

Ahmedabad’s Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport saw the first India landing of Solar Impulse, a Swiss long-range solar-powered aircraft, on Tuesday.

Ahmedabad’s Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport saw the first India landing of Solar Impulse, a Swiss long-range solar-powered aircraft, on Tuesday. “We had invitations from the Delhi as well as Mumbai airports for landing there, but we chose to land in Ahmedabad because a lot of technology, research and products comes from this part of the world,” said André Borschberg, founder and CEO, Solar Impulse.
Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard, initiator and chairman, Solar Impulse, are two Swiss pilots who are attempting to fly around the world in the solar-powered plane. The plane that took off from Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, on Monday landed in Ahmedabad late on Tuesday night after a stop over at Muscat, Oman.

Emphasising the importance of clean and green energy, Piccard said, “I want 1.2-billion Indians to support their campaign for use of renewable energy for protecting the global environment.  We have a message to give. We have to be our own pioneers. We cannot do more of the same.  Moon landing is done. We need better research in renewable energy, better governance on international level, medical breakthroughs.”

The wings of the Solar Impulse 2 are covered by more than 17,000 solar cells that recharge the plane’s batteries. It flies ideally at around 25 knots, or 45 kph (28 mph). It will next fly to Varanasi and is then slated to make 12 stops during its 35,000-kilometer journey, including in China and Myanmar, before it crosses over the Pacific Ocean.

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