Solar plane aiming for first round-the-world flight lands in India

‘It’s a privilege to fly in an aeroplane like that,’ says pilot Bertrand Piccard

Armed Indian paramilitary soldiers from the Central Industrial Security Force keep vigil after the Solar Impulse 2 Plane landed at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Air Port in Ahmedabad, the main city of western India. Photograph: Getty Images

Armed Indian paramilitary soldiers from the Central Industrial Security Force keep vigil after the Solar Impulse 2 Plane landed at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Air Port in Ahmedabad, the main city of western India. Photograph: Getty Images

 

The first round-the-world solar-powered flight landed in India on Wednesday, the second leg of a 35,000km journey seeking to demonstrate that flying long distances fuelled by renewable energy is possible.

The Solar Impulse 2 arrived in the west Indian city of Ahmedabad after a flight of about 15 hours over the Arabian sea from Muscat in Oman.

“It’s a privilege to fly in an aeroplane like that,” pilot Bertrand Piccard told reporters after landing.

Piccard and fellow pilot Andre Borschberg will take turns at the controls of Solar Impulse 2, which began its journey in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates on Monday, as it makes its way around the globe in about 25 flight days at speeds of between 50km/hr and 100km/hr.

The next stop is the north Indian city of Varanasi, the constituency of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has made boosting clean energy a priority for his government.

After leaving India, the plane will make stopovers in Myanmar and China before crossing the Pacific Ocean and flying across the United States and southern Europe to arrive back in Abu Dhabi by late July.