Solar Drone Sets New Standard

Jul 21, 2010
Outside Magazine

A unmanned solar drone, the Zephyr, stands to set records in a test flight over Arizona's Yuma Proving Ground, the New York Times reports.  A representative from QinetiQ, the British company that developed the drone, says that the plan is to land the aircraft this Friday, at which point it will have been in the air for a full two weeks.

If the landing is successful, the Zephyr will shatter the previous record for continuous unmanned flight, held by Northrop Grumman's Global Hawk.

The aircraft, which weighs 110 pounds and has a 74-foot wingspan, is launched by hand.  QinetiQ deals largely in military technology and plans to market the drone for its surveillance and communications capabilities.

For more on record-setting solar aircraft, check out our posts on the Solar Impulse.

--Riley Blanton

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