Solar Impulse flight: Plane lands in Varanasi; Govt denies claims of bureaucratic red tape


New Delhi: The Narendra Modi-led government has rubbished Solar Impulse 2 pilot Bertrand Piccard`s criticism following a lengthy hold-up in Ahmedabad, saying the delay did not take place because of bureaucratic red tape as claimed by the Solar Impulse team but because of the pilot`s oversight in filling the necessary forms.

The world`s first Solar Plane-Solar Impulse 2, which took-off from Ahmedabad earlier in the day, landed in Varanasi on Wednesday night.

Government sources said the necessary clearances were given for the flight to Varanasi.

Sources said the papers of 69 out of the 70 members were timely cleared and that the pilot did not fill general disclosure form among other necessary documents.

Sources said the pilot went directly to the aircraft hangar, instead of completing the necessary documentation as required by the concerned authorities at the Ahmedabad airport.

Sources further said the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) took cognisance of the issue and expedited the documentation process and clearances were given to the pilot.

According to reports, the pilot had said that the aircraft`s take-off from Ahmedabad was delayed by five days because of tedious paperwork.

“PLEASE RT #Si2passport: @bertrandpiccard is blocked with part of #solarTEAM in #Ahmedabad because of customs issues!” Solar Impulse posted on twitter earlier.

After a brief pit stop in Varanasi, Solar Impulse 2 will leave for Mandalay in Myanmar Thursday.

The aircraft is as heavy as a family car at 2,300 kilograms, but has a wingspan as wide as the largest airliner. The design and construction of the Solar Impulse took 12 years.

A first version of the craft rolled out in 2009 and broke records for height and distance travelled by a manned solar plane.


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