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Solar aircraft aimed to bring focus on renewable energy: Pilot


Andre Borschberg, one of the two pilots who are attempting to circumnavigate the world in a solar-powered plane, today said the aim of the endeavour is to bring the focus on renewable energy.

Borschberg, who steered the Solar Impulse-2 (Si2) plane on its first leg from Abu Dhabi to Muscat, said the aim of the round-the-world flight was to bring home the point that "solar energy makes sense".

"There are limitations (for making solar planes operate commercial flights) but what we want to say here is that solar energy makes sense. The message we want to convey is that if we can do this (Si2), similar technologies can be used in making homes and cards, etc," Borschberg told PTI ahead of the Si2 flight’s scheduled landing here.

Borschberg, a graduate from MIT in the United States but who likes to describe himself as military pilot by hobby, said he and his partner Bertrand Piccard, who flew the Muscat-Ahmedabad leg, had started a website ‘Future is Clean’ to send a message to the world leaders that it is time to act to save the environment.

"We want to send the message to the Group of 21 which is meeting in Paris in November that we should stop discussing, and start acting," he said.

Asked about his feeling when he took off from Abu Dhabi, Borschberg said it was extraordinary. "12 years of work, 12 years of hope, excitement and pain. The possibility of challenging the existing ideas and notions." 

The Swiss national credited Yoga for helping him keep his body fit during the flight as the outside temperature can sometimes drop to as low as minus 40 degrees Celsius.

"Yoga helps me to keep by body active during the flight for which I use special postures. It helps me daily and I try to practice as much as possible," he added.

Borschberg has been learning Yoga from Indian Guru Sanjeev Bhanot, who said the pilot was a very good learner.

"My association with Andre goes back 10 years. You can say I joined the solar impulse team two years after it started working on the project that is not more a dream but a reality," Bhanot said.