Zee Media Bureau
Ahmedabad: The solar-powered aircraft, Solar Impulse 2 (Si2), which aims to fly around the globe without a drop of fuel, made a historic night landing in Ahmedabad in Gujarat late on Tuesday.
The aircraft successfully landed in the western state of Gujarat at 11:25 pm local time (1755 GMT) to complete its first major sea leg and to finish its second leg in a little less than 16 hours after taking off from the Omani capital Muscat.
After the plane landed at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport, Ahmedabad, members in the control room applauded Pilot Bertrand Piccard, who was at the controls on the 1,465 kilometre (910 mile) journey over the Arabian Sea.
— SOLAR IMPULSE (@solarimpulse) March 10, 2015
According to the Swiss embassy, the Solar Impulse will be in Ahmedabad for four days during which "several events are planned on the theme of renewable energy and sustainable development".
Capable of flying over oceans for several days and nights in a row, Si2 will travel 35,000 km around the world in 25 days over the course of roughly five months. It will pass over the Arabian Sea, India, Myanmar, China and the Pacific Ocean.
There will be 12 stops en route, which include stops at the Indian cities of Ahmedabad and Varanasi.
The aircraft is also likely to hover above the river Ganga in Varanasi to spread the message of cleanliness and clean energy.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday congratulated the the team behind the Si2 project and wished them every success in their historic attempt.
"We take inspiration from their example and efforts to harness the power of multilateralism to address climate change and to inspire the world to achieve sustainable development through ...sustainable energy and renewable energy," he said.
"With their daring and determination, we can all fly into a new sustainable future," he added.
The Si2 is an airborne laboratory and the largest aircraft of its kind ever built, with a weight equivalent to that of a small car.
With a wing covered by more than 17,000 solar cells, the plane can fly up to an altitude of 8,500 metres at speeds ranging from 50 to 100 km per hour.
After travelling around the globe, Si2 is expected to arrive back in Abu Dhabi in late July or early August.
(With Agency inputs)