Originally published on 1Sun4All.
Solar Impulse 2 (Si2) will take off today for its third flight, traveling from Ahmedabad (Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport, AMD/VAAH) in the Republic of India, to Varanasi (Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport, VNS/VIBN) also in the Republic of India.
André Borschberg will fly the zero-fuel airplane for about 1071 km (578NM, 665 miles) and an estimated time of 15 hours. Yoga originated in India over 5,000 years ago, and is used today by André Borschberg while flying Si2.
The stop in Varanasi is a pit stop. Si2 will take off the following day for Mandalay in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, with Bertrand Piccard at the controls, and because it will be only a one-night stay, no public viewing or reception will be available in Varanasi.
The Altran Flight Strategy Team is prepared for the foggy mornings and has planned a good solution for the solar-powered plane to recharge its batteries while in Varanasi.
While the experimental airplane visited Gujarat, thousands and thousands of people queued up to view the aircraft. The pilots used the opportunity to talk about clean technologies. Gujarat is known to encourage renewable energy projects, is a leader in solar power generation with more than 600 megawatts of generating capacity, and is planning for several gigawatts of new solar and wind projects. The co-founders of Si2 hosted a Google Hangout in the mobile hangar with schools across India. If you missed the video, you can check it out at: Solar Impulse Hangout on Air with Schools Across India (VIDEO).
Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg are enthusiastic to share the symbol of Solar Impulse with the people of Varanasi, the spiritual capital of India, which is often referred to as “the holy city of India.”
Bertrand Piccard said on Twitter that he saw India from a balloon: “With Breitling Orbiter 2, I flew 300 meters (984 feet) above the Indian ground. I always wanted to come back here.” In the pre-flight video, he said the most important thing for him and André Borschberg was that they could both put the India badge on the sleeve of their uniforms.
This is the 1st time a solar-powered airplane has been in India and the entire continent of Asia. You can watch the pre-flight video below.
Video Credit: SOLAR IMPULSE | Photo Credit: 2015-03-10 Solar Impulse 2 RTW 2nd Flight Muscat to Ahmedabad Landing, Revillard via Solar Impulse | Cartoon Credit: Martin Saive via Solar Impulse