Solar-powered aircraft spends 26 days in the air and sets record for longest unmanned flight

  • Tom Gerken and Ashleigh Swan
  • BBC News Technology Reporters

Image of Zephyr in flight

Credit, airbus

photo caption,

Solar-powered Airbus Zephyr S unmanned aircraft broke record set in 2018, data indicate.

Airbus has set the record for the longest flight by an unmanned aircraft, flight tracking data indicates. The solar-powered Airbus Zephyr S spent 26 straight days in the air, beating the previous record set in 2018.

The unmanned spacecraft flies at high altitudes to avoid commercial air traffic and adverse weather.

The aircraft has batteries that keep it in the air overnight, which means it doesn’t have to stop for fuel. Flight data shows the aircraft flew from a test field in Arizona to Belize, Central America, and then back again.

Airbus told the BBC it could not comment on the flight. A spokesperson for a U.S. Army department said the latest flights are intended to “test the UAV’s energy storage capacity, battery longevity, solar panel efficiency and route-keeping capabilities.” “.

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