airbus broke the record longest flight by unmanned aircraftIndicate flight tracking data. Solar-powered Airbus Zephyr S spent 26 straight days in the air in 2018,
Unmanned spacecraft fly at high altitudes to avoid commercial air traffic and inclement weather.
The plane has batteries that keep it in the air overnight, meaning it doesn’t have to stop for fuel.
Flight data shows that the plane took off from a test area in Arizona to Belize, Central America, and then returned.
Airbus told the BBC it could not comment on the flight. A US Army Department spokesman said the latest flights are intended to “test the UAV’s energy storage capability, battery longevity, solar panel efficiency and route-keeping capabilities.” ,
Tim Robinson, editor-in-chief of Aerospace magazine, told the BBC that the distance was an important milestone in the aircraft’s ability to travel great distances from its operators.
“He crossed the distance of 2018, which was the previous record,” he said. “I think it’s an important demonstration of how you can use it in reality.”
He said this opens the door for practical uses of the aircraft, such as military applications or even disaster relief.
Despite being thousands of kilometers away, the Zephyr S can be controlled from anywhere in the world — Photo: Airbus
The aircraft can provide imagery as if it were a satellite, but it does not have the range to orbit the Earth – meaning it can remain in one position and provide continuous updates.
And Zephyr has another important advantage over satellites, which often can’t return to Earth after launch.
“You can upgrade the sensors on it, you can change the payload, you can upgrade it with new technology,” Robinson said.
The flight record was achieved by the latest model of the solar powered aircraft, originally designed and manufactured in the UK.
The Zephyr was conceived by Chris Kelleher, the inventor who died in 2015. Three years later, Airbus opened the first facilities for series production of this type of aircraft at its factory in Farnborough, named Kelleher.
The plane was in the air till the time of writing the news. Flight operators are about to celebrate their 27th straight day in the sky.
He used the wake left by the aircraft to draw “UK” (United Kingdom) into the sky and an attempt – perhaps not very successful – to image Stonehenge.
- This text is originally from . was published in https://www.bbc.com/portuguese/geral-62161816