Zephyr Solar Plane's 3 World Records Confirmed!

zephyr solar plane photo

Photo: Qinetiq, CC
The 'Eternal Plane' Makes History
Last summer, I wrote about the Zephyr solar plane's attempt and success at breaking world records for longest flight, but until now it wasn't truly official. But the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) dotted the i's and crossed the t's, and the QinetiQ team now holds 3 world records.
zephyr solar plane photo

Photo: Qinetiq, CC

The FAI set the official duration at 336 hours, 22 minutes and eight seconds.

The three records are: 1) absolute duration of an unmanned autonomous vehicle (UAV) flight, 2) flight duration for a UAV of its class (unmanned craft weighing 50-500kg), and 3) altitude record for a UAV of its class (21,562m/70,741ft).

The Zephyr can stay in the air for so long because of a combination of ultra-light materials, solar panels that power the plane during daytime and also recharge batteries so that it can stay in the air during the night.

"This aircraft can help track pirates off the Horn of Africa, alert the authorities about where and how fast forest fires are spreading, and ensure that soldiers' communications remain unaffected when fighting in mountainous or hilly terrain," said Qinetiq's chief designer Chris Kelleher.

Via QineticQ, BBC
More on Solar Planes
The 'Eternal Aircraft' Zephyr Solar Plane Aims for 14 Days in the Air
Zephyr Solar Plane Lands After Over 2 Weeks (!!!) in the Air, Setting New World Record
SolarEagle Unmanned Plane to Fly for 5 Years Without Landing

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