Solar Impulse-2, the solar-powered aircraft aiming to become the first such flying machine to travel around the world, is finally on its way after being stuck in Indian red tape for three days.
The flight finally took off from the western Indian city of Ahmedabad at 7:18 a.m. local time, nearly two hours after its scheduled departure time of 5:30 a.m., according to the mission’s website.
Indian news channel NDTV reported that the latest delay was due to customs issues, which had already caused the postponement of its rescheduled Tuesday departure by another day.
“The delay is administration. I am not here to accuse anybody,” said the flight’s co-founder and pilot André Borschberg. “Since past five days, we have been trying to get all the stamps and paperwork. But every day, they say tomorrow.”
SI-2, as the aircraft is also known, landed in Ahmedabad on March 10 after beginning its historic round-the-world trip in Abu Dhabi the previous day. It’s original departure from the city on March 15 was also pushed forward due to bad weather.
The flight’s next destination is India’s Varanasi and then Mandalay in Burma, officially now called Myanmar, following which it will travel to the Chinese cities of Chongqing and Nanjing before crossing the Pacific into the U.S.