Solar Impulse flight lands in Mandalay

19 March 2015
Solar Impulse flight lands in Mandalay
Solar Impulse 2 lands in Mandalay on March 19, 2015. Photo: Solar Impulse

The Solar Impulse 2 aircraft landed in Mandalay at around 8 pm March 19 after leaving Varanasi 16 hours earlier.
The flight piloted by Mr Bertrand Piccard reached a top speed of 200 kilometres as hour at one point in a jet stream, according to Mr Piccard, talking in radio conversation with his team in Monaco, as he approached Myanmar.
Mr Piccard recalled the first time he had been in Myanmar, in 1998, when he made a failed attempt to fly around the world in a high altitude balloon. At that time, he was invited by the Myanmar authorities to make an emergency landing. 
This time he pilots an innovative solar-powered aircraft, the weight of an SUV, and with the wingspan of a Boeing 747, that is trying to be the first to fly around the world solely powered by the sun.
He told mission control as he approached Mandalay that he was looking forward to “putting my feet on the ground of Mandalay again.” 
Mr Piccard said, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, that he has all the paperwork necessary for landing in Myanmar. 
India had proved a nightmare of red tape. 
Crowds of people greeted the aircraft as it landed at Mandalay International Airport.