The Solar Impulse 2, which aims to be the first plane to circumnavigate the earth solely on solar power, got a taste of India's legendary bureaucracy today as its departure from Ahmedabad to Varanasi was delayed by several hours Wednesday morning.
Their Twitter handle live tweeted the drama and frustration of dealing with Indian customs. The flight to Varanasi was delayed by around seven hours as the Solar Impulse team experienced delays dealing with Indian custom officials.
At 6 AM, the Solar Impulse was still grounded, their Twitter account posted a photo of Bertrand Piccard, chairman and pilot, looking frustrated because of the delays.
— SOLAR IMPULSE (@solarimpulse) March 18, 2015
The Solar Impulse team didn't let the delays temper their sense of humour, as they whipped out this cartoon poking fun at Indian custom officials.
Solar Impulse finally took off at around 7 AM, and has completed 15 percent of the journey, with another 940 kilometres to go. The plane will fly approximately 1127.9km for an estimated time of 15 hours to reach Varanasi. The pilot is practising Yoga to stay calm and complete the journey in the zero-fuel plane. The live webcast of the video from the cockpit can be viewed here.
The plane will make stop overs in Myanmar and China, cross the Pacific Ocean to reach the United States, and is expected to arrive back in Abu Dhabi by July.
The Solar Impulse team asked the Twitterverse for help as they were stuck in Ahmedabad, waiting for Bertrand Pickard to get a stamp in his passport.
The delay could potentially jeopardise the mission as it would ruin the chance for a pit stop, the Solar Impulse Twitter handle stated.
The situation was finally resolved at 2:39 PM IST, when Piccard was able to board a flight to Varanasi.
Many THANKS for your help today! pic.twitter.com/2nNxkROrkm— SOLAR IMPULSE (@solarimpulse) March 18, 2015