shankargallery (shankargallery) wrote,

Solar plane flies into the night

clipped from

Solar plane flies into the night

By Jonathan Fildes

Science and technology reporter, BBC News

Artist's impression of Zephyr
Zephyr reached a maximum altitude of more than 58,000ft (18,000m)

A lightweight solar-powered plane has smashed the official world record for the longest-duration unmanned flight.
The Zephyr's 54-hour endurance flight will not enter the record books because representatives from the world air sports federation - the FAI - were not notified about the secretive test.
Altitude comparison
Northrop Grumman RQ-4A Global Hawk
The current record holder is Northrop Grumman's Global Hawk
Helios broke up over the Pacific, west of the Hawaiian island of Kauai

Zephyr infographic

Lightweight plane (31kg/ 68lb) is launched by hand

Flies autonomously and can climb to more than 18,000m (58,000ft)

By day it flies on solar power and recharges batteries.

By night it is powered by rechargeable lithium-sulphur batteries

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