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Friday, July 16, 2010

Solar plane flies 7 days non-stop; it's still in the air!

"The UK-built Zephyr solar-powered plane has smashed the endurance record for an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The craft took off from the US Army's Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona at 1440 BST (0640 local time) last Friday and is still in the air," reports BBC. "Its non-stop operation, day and night, means it has now gone five times longer than the official mark recognised by the world air sports federation. The plane has been developed by the defence and research company Qinetiq. Solar-powered high-altitude long-endurance (Hale) UAVs are expected to have a wide range of applications in the future. The military will want to use them as reconnaissance and communications platforms. Civilian and scientific programmes will equip them with small payloads for Earth observation duties. Their unique selling point is their persistence over a location. Low-Earth orbiting satellites come and go in a swift pass overhead, and the bigger drones now operated by the military still need to return to base at regular intervals for refuelling." READ MORE

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