Un drone vraiment ultraléger champion du monde de durée et d’altitude

30 kg, 18 mètres d’envergure
Durée : 336 heures et 22 minutes
Altitude : 70 740 pieds

HALE UAV Zephyr QinetiQ

Source: QinetQ
QinetiQ files for three world records for its Zephyr Solar powered UAV
24 August 2010
QinetiQ has filed for three world records for Zephyr, its solar powered high-altitude long endurance (HALE) Unmanned Air System (UAS), with the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI), subject to ratification for achieving:

  • the absolute duration record for an Unmanned Air Vehicle – being filed at 336 hrs / 22 minutes
  • the duration record for a UAV (in the U/1.c / 50-500Kg category) – time as above
  • the absolute altitude record for a UAV (in the above category) – being filed at 70,740ft (21,561m)

Zephyr was launched at 06:41 (MST) on 09 July 2010 and stayed aloft for 14 nights (336 hrs / 22 minutes) above the US Army’s Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona, before being brought safely back to earth on the morning of 23 July having achieving all the objectives of the trial.

Zephyr air vehicle

The air vehicle is of ultra lightweight carbon-fibre construction and weighs 30kg. The wingspan is up to 18m.
During daylight hours the air vehicle is solar powered. The upper surface of the aircraft wings are covered by amorphous silicon arrays developed and supplied by United Solar Ovonic. At night the air vehicle is powered by lithium sulphur batteries, supplied by Sion Power, that are recharged during daylight hours by the solar power arrays.
The air vehicle is equipped with a solar charger and bespoke auto-pilot developed in-house at QinetiQ.
The solar arrays provide about 1.5kW, sufficient power to fly at altitudes over 60,000ft during the day and charge the batteries. The rechargeable lithium sulphur batteries store sufficient energy to power the air vehicle overnight without falling to below 50,000ft, so the air vehicle maintains altitude above normal commercial air lanes and above most weather systems. The batteries power two wing-mounted two-bladed propellers.