Lori Zimmer

Solarcopter: World's First Solar-Powered Helicopter Takes Off on First Flight

by , 04/12/13

green design, eco design, sustainable design, SolarCopter, solar powered helicopter, solar powered airplane, Queen mary College

The world’s first solar-powered helicopter just took off on its first test flight! Called SolarCopter, the model-sized aircraft was developed by a team of students at Queen Mary College in the UK. It’s propelled into the air using energy harnessed from the sun, instead of a fuel engine. The remote-controlled helicopter may be small, but the technology behind it serves as inspiration for larger-scale projects down the line.

green design, eco design, sustainable design, SolarCopter, solar powered helicopter, solar powered airplane, Queen mary College

So far engineers have developed sun-powered planes like the Solar Impulse, but the SolarCopter is the first solar-powered helicopter.  The prototype can only fly for short periods of time, but the team is working on an on-board energy storage system that will allow for longer flights.

The SolarCopter is a quadrotor aircraft. Unlike a solar plane, the SolarCopter is more maneuverable; it’s capable of hovering and it can move in every direction like a standard helicopter. Although it’s still in the experimental phase, the SolarCopter could serve as a model for a large-scale aircraft, or help to enhance already existing helicopters.

+ SolarCopter

Via Fast Co Exist

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1 Comment

  1. ricky h November 30, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    Because it can only fly for short periods, it seems to me that swapping out the solar panels for bigger batteries would improve flight time. These solar panels only top up the existing batteries.

    It’s likely that in the future solar will be efficient to keep a craft like this airborne while there is sun, till then let’s not kid ourselves.

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