Varanasi: Solar Impulse-2 (SI-2), the world's first and only solar-powered aircraft, landed in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday night, completing a 15 hours long flight.
— SOLAR IMPULSE (@solarimpulse) March 18, 2015
Taking off at 7:18 am from Ahmedabad`s Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport earlier in the day, the solar-powered plane landed at Varanasi's Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport at around 8:40 pm.
Swiss fighter pilot André Borschberg will hand over the controls to Bertrand Piccard for the next leg to Mandalay in Myanmar, tweeted Solar Impulse on its official Twitter account.
The aircraft, which had a schedule of four-day stopover in Gujarat, was delayed on account of the inclement weather conditions due to western disturbances.
Pilot Andre Borschberg said he practices yoga while flying the SI-2.
The SI-2 has been built not just to fly around the world without a drop of fuel, but also demonstrate the effectiveness of clean technologies and the importance of sustainability.
The ambitious project is supported by Prince Albert of Monaco, the United Arab Emirate`s Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar Sultan bin Ahmed Sultan Al Jaber, British businessman Richard Branson and former US vice president Al Gore.
The project is part of the #FutureIsClean initiative that has been launched to raise awareness about clean technologies.
The SI-2 is an airborne laboratory, genuinely made from technological solutions developed by a multi-disciplinary team of 80 specialists and more than a 100 partners and consultants.
Its predecessor, the SI-1 which flew in 2010, holds eight world records.
Meanwhile, the Narendra Modi-led government has rubbished Solar Impulse 2 pilot Bertrand Piccard`s criticism following a lengthy hold-up in Ahmedabad, saying the delay did not take place because of bureaucratic red tape as claimed by the Solar Impulse team but because of the pilot`s oversight in filling the necessary forms.
Government sources said the necessary clearances were given for the flight to Varanasi.
Earlier, the pilot had said that the aircraft`s take-off from Ahmedabad was delayed by five days because of tedious paperwork.
The SI-2 took off from Muscat on March 9 and flew over Pakistan before it landed in Gujarat last week.
After a brief stop in Varanasi, the aircraft will take off to Mandalay, Myanmar on Thursday morning and then to Chongqing and Nanjing in China after which it would go to the USA.
(With Agency Inputs)