It has been seven days since the solar plane took off and still flying. The unmanned solar aircraft called “Zephyr” plane, whih was developed by UK defense technology company, QinetiQ, took off from the U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona on July 9. It breaks the world record for continuous flight.
“It’s extremely exciting. What we now have is an eternal plane. It has the same amount of fuel at the start of one day as it does at the start of another.” said Jon Saltmarsh, the program director of Zephyr. It was conceived in 2001. UK’s Ministry of Defense (MOD) funded the project three years later. There has been a lot of prototypes made and finally Saltmarsh believes QinetiQ has now created an aircraft that demonstrates genuine military utility.
The aircraft can be helpful in carrying surveillance payloads at 60,000 feet high. This craft could somehow let the military save money because it would be doing things that a manned craft usually do.
The plane Weighs just 53 kilograms (117 pounds), a wingspan of 22.5 meters (74 feet) and a wing area of around 30 square meters (323 square feet), the top side of which is covered in solar panels which is thinner than a sheet of paper. At night, the plane is being powered by lithium-sulphur batteries.
It the aircraft can be very useful during calamities for surveillance like forest fire monitoring.