Zephyr achieved the longest flight in history

The experimental solar-powered spy plane, the Airbus Zephyr S, has been in the air for 30 days, setting a new flight record.

The lightweight solar-powered drone took off from a military base in Yuma, Arizona, on June 15. He has flown most of that time over Arizona, but he has also flown over Belize, Central America, across the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, on a test flight of more than 7,000 kilometers.


In response to a question by the BBC, Airbus did not want to comment on the flight, whose developments are tracked by the online platform FlightRadar24.

In August 2018, he had already set a world record for endurance for 26 days, according to Guinness World Records. The Zephyr S has a wingspan of 25 meters (82 ft) and weighs less than 75 kg (165 lb).

Described by Airbus as a “quasi-satellite,” it has already reached an altitude of 76,100 feet, another record for an electric drone.

The plane flies high in the atmosphere to avoid commercial air traffic and inclement weather. Its batteries keep it flying at night, while the sun supplies it with energy during the day.

Many capabilities are under study

A US Army spokesperson told the military website The Drive – War Zone that the current Zephyr trials are aimed at testing energy storage capacity, battery longevity and the efficiency of solar panels.

An airplane can provide images like a satellite, but it doesn’t have to orbit the Earth. It can constantly hover over a target area and constantly provide intelligence about it. If necessary, the Zephyr can return to Earth to change its onboard equipment. Which is impossible with satellites.

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About the Author: Hermínio Guimarães

"Introvertido premiado. Viciado em mídia social sutilmente charmoso. Praticante de zumbis. Aficionado por música irritantemente humilde."

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