Friday, August 20, 2010

QinetiQ’s Zephyr solar powered unmanned aircraft soars to new world records

Back in the 1980’s when I was in the army I was attached to Remote Pilotless vehicles (RPV) trials in DRES Suffield, Alberta, lots of interesting stuff going on but crude in comparison to these aircraft, but we knew it was going to be big.

QinetiQ today (14:40 UK time on Friday 16 July) announced that Zephyr, the leading solar powered high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) Unmanned Air System (UAS) has been flying for the past week, smashing a number of long-standing world records.

Currently flying high above the US Army's Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona, Zephyr has already passed the seven day / 168 hour mark and the clock is still running. This DOUBLES the unofficial world record for longest duration unmanned flight of 82 hours, 37 minutes set in 2008 and already held by Zephyr, and is well in excess of the current official world record of 30 hours 24 minutes set by Northrop Grumman's RQ-4A Global Hawk on 22 March 2001.
read more here

via Micheal Yon's facebook


  1. The solar airplanes Zephyr and Solar Impulse show the way to the future. We believe that we will witness more solar energy applications soon.

  2. Thanks for commenting, I worked on solar powered navigation light systems while in the Coast Guard. The problem we have up here is at the higher latitudes, steep fjords and heavy overcast is that the solar systems don't get enough energy, so you have to use 2 to 3 times the number of panels than planned. This brings up the costs considerable. On the bright side (pun intended) solar panels are much more efficient nowadays and cheaper.