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Zephyr Solar Plane Completes Longest Unmanned Flight Ever

Posted By Ariel Schwartz On July 26, 2010 @ 1:57 pm In Environment,Green Transportation,Innovation,Solar Power | 3 Comments

zephyr, qinetq, solar, solar power, aircraft, green design [1]

As expected, the Zephyr [2] solar plane has officially broken the endurance record for an unmanned aircraft [3] by flying for a whopping two weeks above an Arizona army range. The photovoltaic-powered Zephyr, which touched down on Friday, handily beat the previous world record of 30 hours with a new record of 336 hours!

zephyr, qinetq, solar, solar power, aircraft, green design [4]

The plane was designed by research and defense company QinetQ [5] as part of an effort to develop self-sufficient surveillance aircraft. The Zephyr [2] is fairly large, with a 74 foot wingspan, but it’s light, too — it weighs just 110 pounds thanks to a lightweight carbon fiber body. During the day, Zephyr juices up with silicon solar [6] arrays and it stores excess energy in lithium-sulphur batteries that are used at night.

No word yet on when Zephyr-like aircraft will be commercialized, but we’re jazzed to see that solar power has proven (and then some) to be a viable technology in the transportation industry.

+ QinetQ [7]

Via UK Daily Mail [8]

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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/zephyr-solar-plane-completes-longest-unmanned-flight-ever/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://inhabitat.com/2010/07/26/zephyr-solar-plane-completes-longest-unmanned-flight-ever/zephyr-two-week-flight-2-2/

[2] Zephyr: http://inhabitat.com/2010/07/19/zephyr-to-complete-longest-unmanned-solar-flight-on-friday/

[3] aircraft: http://inhabitat.com/2010/07/08/sun-powered-solar-impulse-plane-completes-first-night-flight/

[4] Image: http://inhabitat.com/2010/07/26/zephyr-solar-plane-completes-longest-unmanned-flight-ever/zephyr-two-week-flight-1-2/

[5] QinetQ: http://redirectingat.com/?id=2748X590349&xs=1&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.qinetiq.com%2Fhome.html&sref=http%3A%2F%2Finhabitat.com%2F2010%2F07%2F19%2Fzephyr-to-complete-longest-unmanned-solar-flight-on-friday%2F

[6] solar: http://www.inhabitat.com/solar-power/

[7] + QinetQ: http://www.qinetiq.com/home/newsroom/news_releases_homepage/2010/3rd_quarter/zephyr_-_14_days.html

[8] UK Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1297165/Zephyr-British-solar-powered-unmanned-aircraft-finally-lands-flying-non-stop-weeks.html?ITO=1490

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