Yesterday, Airbus’ first production model of its spy drone Zephyr HAPS successfully landed after setting a world record stint in the skies. It was Drone’s first time touching down since it took off in Arizona on July 11
The 165 pounds craft’s endurance is possible because it relies only on solar power to fly. It flies well above weather and standard air traffic which allows the drone to charge on day and night both using its solar panels. It flies much higher than average passenger jet at 70,000 feet.
Airbus Zephyr went on to beat the previous record for longest flight within earth’s atmosphere without refueling, which was 14 days set by an earlier Zephyr prototype. Later this year, the company is also planning additional flights and the company claims it will stay a lot for 100 days at a time.
The solar-powered flight has been a goal of aviation innovators for a long time. This drone’s increasing flight duration is proving the technology’s worth to potential buyers like the Defence Ministry of Britain, which has already ordered a pair of them.
The massive drone was originally unveiled at Britain’s Farnborough airshow. After the flight test on July 11, it will be used for military surveillance and civilian purposes. The first contract has been already finalized with Britain’s Defense Ministry.