Pages with tag Airbus
Airbus electric airplane flies continuously for 26 days, setting world record:
Airbus has flown an unmanned high-altitude airplane for 3 minutes shy of 26 days, beating an endurance record also owned by Airbus. The airplane combines solar panels and energy storage to enable continuous flight, and operates at a 70,000 foot altitude where there is little air turbulence. The primary goal for such an airplane is to implement a kind of very-low-orbit satellite -- that is, remaining at a very high altitude means such an airplane can perform reconnaisance or communications services like a satellite, but without the expense of launching a satellite into orbit.
The 70,000 foot altitude is above the weather, above regular air traffic, and for example is high enough to provide a very wide viewing angle for camera systems, or for telecommunication systems, that might be mounted on such a vehicle. By operating on solar power such an airplane could theoretically operate indefinitely. But of course it is useful for it to land every so often for maintenance.
A couple years ago the Solar Impulse solar electric airplane used a similar drive train to complete an around-the-world journey. In that case the airplane was manned, and therefore its time aloft was limited to pilot endurance. The longest flight of the Solar Impulse was from Japan to Hawaii and (if memory serves) took over five days.