Solar Impulse Resumes Global Flight


After a two-hour delay, Solar Impulse launched on the third leg of its global journey just after sunrise on Wednesday, departing from Ahmedabad, in India.Pilot Andre Borschberg waited patiently as administrative delays kept the solar-powered aircraft on the ground,despite perfect weather. The team needed “a piece of paper to be signed off” from customs, according to spokesman Conor Lennon. “You see the type of challenges we have if we want to fly around the world,” said Bertrand Piccard, leader of the project.The airplane was bound to Varanasi, also in India, about 500 nm and 15 hours away for the slow aircraft. The team planned to land there for a short pit stop and to switch pilots before proceeding on the next leg of the flight.

Once the customs paperwork issue was resolved, it took some time to open up the departure slot needed at the busy international airport. After Varanasi, the next planned stop for Solar Impulse is Mandalay, in Myanmar (Burma), which will take about 20 hours. The route will take the airplane south of the Himalayas, where the meeting of jet streams may cause difficult crosswinds for the lightweight craft. The aircraft then will make two stops in China before crossing the Pacific to Hawaii. During its stay in Ahmedabad, more than 20,000 people came to see the airplane and its crew. The flights are covered live on the Solar Impulse website.