Zephyr surpasses its own mark for the longest unmanned flight

Flight-tracking data suggests that Airbus has surpassed the previous record for the longest flight of an unmanned aircraft.

The Airbus Zephyr S powered by solar energy has flown for 26 nonstop days, breaking the previous record it set in 2018.

To avoid commercial aircraft and bad weather, the unmanned drone soars high in the atmosphere.

The plane has batteries on board that allow it to stay in the air all night without stopping to refuel.

According to flight data, the aircraft flew from the Arizona test range to Belize in Central America and back.

BBC was informed by Airbus that it could not comment on the trip.

The current flight tests are “designed to test the UAV’s energy storage capacity, battery longevity, solar panel efficiency, and station-keeping skills,” a spokeswoman for the US Army’s Assured Position, Navigation and Timing/Space division told The Drive.

The aircraft’s capacity to move beyond the line of sight of its controllers was a critical milestone, according to Tim Robinson, editor-in-chief of Aerospace magazine, who spoke with the BBC.

They have flown across the range where the previous record was established in 2018, he said. It has travelled outside of this area and beyond the range of line-of-sight communications. That is a crucial illustration of how you would utilise it in practise, in my opinion.

He claimed that this made way for useful uses of the aircraft, including military and even humanitarian missions.

Comparison of satellite

The aircraft can deliver imagery similarly to a satellite, but it is not constrained by the need to orbit the Earth, allowing it to stay in one place and deliver continuous updates.

However, it also has a significant advantage over satellites, which typically cannot come back to Earth after launch.

It comes full round, Mr. Robinson remarked. “You can replace the payloads, change the sensors on it, and upgrade it with new technologies.”

The solar-powered aircraft’s most recent model, which was created and assembled in the UK, set the record for longest flight.

Chris Kelleher created Zephyr; he passed away in 2015. Three years later, Airbus constructed the first facilities for this kind of aircraft’s serial manufacturing in Farnborough and gave them his name.

At the time of writing, it was still in the air, and the flight crew appeared to be honouring its history as they celebrated their 27th straight day in the air.

Operators created the word “UK” and what might be referred to as a crude rendering of Stonehenge using the plane’s flight route.

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