Millennium Post

First solar-power plane lands in India on round-the-world tour

Keeping its date with India, Solar Impulse  on Tuesday landed  in Ahmedabad and will stay parked for four days before leaving on the next leg of its round-the-world tour.  It will take off from Ahmedabad early on Sunday to reach Varanasi where it will have a pit stop until Monday. 

Ahmedabad is in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat and Varanasi, his Lok Sabha constituency, are coincidental choices determined by weather and airspace route fixed for the tour and not political, according to the Solar Impulse team.

Tuesday was hectic for a team of 15 engineers and crew members who prepared the Ahmedabad International Airport for the landing of the aircraft, which is the first solar–powered plane to embark on a world tour.  The mobile hangars, which are a crucial part of the ground work has been in place and team is working out last minute detailing to accommodate the aircraft.

“Three of our engineers have  also been part of the critical team globally,” a spokesperson of ABB, one of the title partners of Solar Impulse said. Altran, the official engineer’s partners of Solar Impulse is on the ground here. Among the things planned during the four day stay on Ahmedabad would be student–engagement programmes, the team has been interacting with student’s world over. Solar Impulse dreams big and promotes cutting edge technologies.

The ground crew and engineering staff of Solar Impulse check for at least 100 things on the plane, and another crucial part is the mobile hangers, to survive in some harsh condition, at alien airports as it goes around the world. The Hanger is made of a special canvas and protects the plane from dust and high temperatures. “This is not a plane with traditional technologies, not all airports have the infrastructure to protect it,” the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, the airport at Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh will have night-landing facility by the end of March, the state government said on Wednesday. Ahead of the ‘Infrastructure Mission’ launch on March 13 in Visakhapatnam, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu held a review meeting on the status of infrastructure and investments with officials here. During the meeting, the Chief Minister was informed that night-landing facility at the Rajahmundry airport will begin by March-end, an official release said here.
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