Bad weather may delay Si2’s take-off from Indian city

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Bad weather may delay Si2’s take-off from Indian city

A media spokesperson of the Si2 team also told Khaleej Times that the next possible departure “might even be on Tuesday though the date was subject to further change, depending on weather conditions.

By Mahesh Trivedi

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Published: Sun 15 Mar 2015, 12:58 AM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 9:09 PM

Ahmedabad — Thanks to inclement weather, Solar Impulse 2 (Si2), the world’s first aircraft powered by the sun’s rays, is likely to delay its scheduled take-off to Varanasi, the Indian city on the banks of the Ganga in Uttar Pradesh, from Ahmedabad on Sunday by one or two days.

Students and the public queue up to get a glimpse of the Solar Impulse 2 in Ahmedabad, India, on Friday. — KT photo by Salman Shaikh

The single-seat, carbon-fibre solar plane on a round-the-world trip had faced strong winds even when it arrived in Ahmedabad just before midnight on Tuesday for its second pit stop for four days after a 15-hour flight from the Omani capital of Muscat. After Ahmedabad and other parts of Gujarat witnessed thunderstorm and sporadic rains on Thursday, the two pilots of the 2,300-kg Swiss-made flying machine, Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg, had marathon discussions with officials of the meteorological department in the city on possible weather conditions on Sunday.

The weatherman predicted rain and thundershowers on Friday, and said similar weather conditions were likely to continue on Saturday and even on Sunday when the Si2, now parked in a special massive hangar at the airport, is scheduled to fly to its next destination in India, Varanasi.

A media spokesperson of the Si2 team also told Khaleej Times that the next possible departure “might even be on Tuesday though the date was subject to further change, depending on weather conditions.

Meanwhile, some 10,000 people from all over Gujarat, mainly school and college students, flocked to the airport where the plane, which started its 35,000-km journey from Abu Dhabi on Monday morning, was kept for public viewing for five hours. The visitors, who were seen taking selfies with the out-of-the-world aircraft and its crew, also included people from aeronautics and aviation sectors who wanted to understand the technological aspects of Si2.

From Varanasi, the Si2 will go to Mandalay in Myanmar as well as Chongqing and Nanjing in China and thereafter to the US to arrive back in Abu Dhabi from where it had set off on the record-breaking mission.

Si2 has already set a record by flying solo across the Arabian Sea without any fossil fuel.

mahesh@khaleejtimes.com



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