Solar Impulse-2 aircraft lands in Varanasi

Varanasi: The world's only 'zero-fuel' aircraft 'Solar Impulse-2' today landed in Varanasi for an overnight stopover after its pilot held the Ahmedabad 'administration' responsible for the delay in departure from the city for want of customs and immigration clearance.

Support crew push Solar Impulse 2, the world's only solar powered aircraft, before it takes off from Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in the Indian city of Ahmedabad
Support crew push Solar Impulse 2, the world's only solar powered aircraft, before it takes off from Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in the Indian city of Ahmedabad. Pic/AFP

Swiss pilot Bertrand Piccard, who had flown the airplane from Muscat to Ahmedabad, did not get clearance from the Immigration department.

His co-pilot Andre Borschberg today flew the world's first solar-powered aircraft from Ahmedabad to Varanasi.

The plane touched down at the Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport at Babatpur 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, an official said here.

"The plane took off from Ahmedabad after a delay of two hours from its scheduled time," the official said.

It was slated to hover above river Ganga to spread the message of cleanliness and clean energy, but it was skipped due to the delay.

Airport Director S K Malik and other senior officials gave a warm welcome to Borschberg.

The SI-2 is scheduled to fly to Mandalay in Myanmar from here tomorrow morning, Chongqing and Nanjing in China and thereafter to the US.

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