The solar-powered, high-altitude long endurance (HALE) UAV previously known as the Qinetiq Zephyr
, which is now part of the Airbus High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) programme and called the Airbus Zephyr, has continued its record-breaking ways in its first civil flight in the skies over Dubai earlier this month.
The three world records that QinetiQ applied for after its Zephyr
High-Altitude Long-Endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle completed a successful 14-day flight in July 2010, have been confirmed. The aircraft has now officially been ratified as staying in the air longer and achieving the highest altitude of any surveillance craft in its class, and setting the absolute duration record of 14 days and 21 minutes.
QinetiQ has filed for three world records for Zephyr
, its solar powered high-altitude long endurance (HALE) Unmanned Air System (UAS), with the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) – the world governing body for air sports, aeronautics and astronautics world records. The three records subject to ratification are the absolute duration record for an Unmanned Air Vehicle, the duration record for a UAV in the U/1.c / 50-500Kg category and the absolute altitude record for a UAV in that category of 70,740ft (21,561m).
Barring mishap, QinetiQ will set a significant milestone in aviation history later today. After 14 days and nights in the air, the solar-powered Zephyr unmanned aircraft
we wrote about last week is set to land, claiming a raft of world records for flight duration and the title of the world's first truly persistent aeroplane.
Zephyr, QinetiQ’s solar-powered, high-altitude long-endurance (HALE), Unmanned Air System (UAS) is currently in the air and setting a landmark unmanned flight duration record by demonstrating what is essentially perpetual flight. The official world record for the longest unmanned flight is 30 hours 24 minutes set by Northrop Grumman's RQ-4A Global Hawk
in 2001. A previous smaller relative of the current Zephyr holds the unofficial record of 82 hours
but this time QinetiQ has FIA officials on hand and has been flying the new 22.5m wingspan plane for the past week, and is closing on the 200 hour mark with another week (168 hours) planned. It needs to land safely to claim the record, but the feat has already demonstrated that the era of low-cost, persistent aerial surveillance has begun.
Qinetiq’s Zephyr solar powered high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) has flown a world-beating three and a half day flight at the US Army's Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. The solar powered plane flew for 82 hours 37 minutes, exceeding the current official world record for unmanned flight which stands at 30 hours 24 minutes set by Global Hawk in 2001 and Zephyr's previous longest
flight of 54 hours achieved last year.
September 11, 2007 Using new solar array technology and a tailor-built autopilot system, QinetiQ’s
Zephyr High Altitude Long Endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
has nearly doubled the official world record time for the longest duration unmanned flight with a 54 hour flight achieved during trials at the US Military's White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.