World's first solar-powered plane's pilot plays down criticism of Indian red-tape by colleague

Varanasi: One of the pilots of the solar powered plane, which is trying to set a world record by flying across the world, on Wednesday sought to play down the the criticism by his colleague who had held the "administration" responsible for the delay in departure from Ahmedabad for want of clearances.

 Worlds first solar-powered planes pilot plays down criticism of Indian red-tape by colleague

Solar Impulse-2 is the first plane powered by solar energy in the world. Reuters

CEO and co-pilot of Solar Impulse, Andre Borschberg said there are different sets of rules in different countries and they were unable to understand the "complex" process in Varanasi.

"I think we met with some complex administration which we underestimated. It was certainly our responsibility also there (Ahmedabad). When we get to another county, we don't always understand exactly what to do, and how to do it.

"And I guess we did something which we should not have done...and then it is very difficult to understand the right way to proceed...but it happens, and we finally get to the solution. So I am very happy here," Borschberg said.

Swiss pilot Bertrand Piccard, who had flown the airplane from Muscat to Ahmedabad, and did not get clearance from the Immigration department, had criticised the red tape in the administration over the delay.

"The delay is...administration, its papers, its stamps. I am not here to accuse anybody. I just say since five days we are trying to get over stamps (clearance) and everyday, it (concerned authority) says it's tomorrow, and every tomorrow it's again tomorrow and since five days we are desperate to get over stamps and now we still have stamps missing," Piccard had said.

Borschberg on Wednesday flew the solar-powered aircraft from Ahmedabad to Varanasi. The plane, which took off from Ahmedabad after a delay of two hours, touched down at the Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport at Babatpur shortly after 8.30 pm, completing an over 13 hour-long journey.

It was slated to hover above river Ganga to spread the message of cleanliness and clean energy, but skipped it due to the delay.

Borschberg said he wanted to see the the 'aarti' on the banks of Ganga, and asserted that he would do so tomorrow before taking off to Mandalay in Myanmar.

"The thing I wanted was to come here (Varanasi) before sunset and see the evening lights (Ganga aarti). Now we will go in the morning to see the 'aarti' on the banks of the Ganga (before we take off)," he said.

"The SI-2 will be flown by co-piolot as well as project President Bertrand Piccard tomorrow," Borschberg said.

He also gave credit for his success of the project to his wife. He said he visited Varanasi 20 years ago with his wife and had learnt about Yoga here and in Rishikesh, adding that Yoga helped a lot in flying the aircraft.


Updated Date: Mar 19, 2015 09:31:29 IST