Solar Impulse 2 (Si2), the world's first solar flight circumventing the globe without a drop of fuel, landed in Ahemdabad on Tuesday night after a delay of two days.
The plane will stop at 12 major cities across the world. Two Swiss pioneers are attempting to fly around the world in a solar-powered airplane without a drop of fossil fuel.
Described by its creators as "an airborne laboratory," the single-seat Solar Impulse 2 has 17,248 ultra-efficient solar cells that transfer solar energy to four electrical motors that power the plane's propellers. READ MORE
The plane's ideal flight speed is about 25 knots, or 45 kph (28 mph), though that can double during the day when sun's rays are strongest. The plane will reach an altitude of around 28,000 feet (8,500 meters) during the day and at night dip to around 5,000 feet (1,500 meters) when flying over oceans. During landing and takeoff, the plane is guided by runners and bicyclists who help steady it.
Psychiatrist Bertrand Piccard, 57, is the son of undersea explorer Jacques Piccard and a grandson of balloonist Auguste Piccard. In 1999, he became the first person to circumnavigate the globe non-stop in a hot air balloon. André Borschberg, 62, is both an investor and an entrepreneur. He is CEO and co-founder of Solar Impulse, which he started in 2003 with Piccard. The two men will trade off piloting during layovers.
As it travels some 35,000 kilometers (21,700 miles) around the world, the Si2 will stop in 12 cities. The actual flight days are just 25, but the course of the journey is roughly five months because organizers plan public events for governments, schools and universities along the way.
The project, which began in 2002 and is estimated to cost more than $100 million, is aimed at highlighting the importance of renewable energy and the spirit of innovation. Piccard and Borschberg encourage people to discuss the project online using (hashtag) FutureIsClean to send a "strong message for clean technologies."
From India the plane will head on to Myanmar, China, Hawaii and New York. From there it will head on towards its starting point in Abu Dhabi via either southern Europe or North Africa, depending on weather conditions.
The initiative is aimed at spreading the importance of renewable energy and clean technologies.