Solar-Powered Plane Smashes World Record, Sort Of

zephyr_solar_powered_aiplane_1.jpgUK defence firm Qinetiq has smashed the world record for the longest un-manned flight. Their solar-powered Zephyr flew continuously for an incredible 54 hours, easily beating the previous 30 hour record held by a US jet aircraft. Unfortunately though, it won't be officially recognised as a record, because of a slight oversight. The flight was pretty secretive because QinetiQ are a defence contractor, and therefore there weren't any representatives from the world air sports federation there. This means that it can't be verified and entered into the record books. A Qinetiq employee seemed sure that it could go even better though, saying; "You ain't seen nothing yet." That enthusiasm is great, but just remember to invite the FAI guys next time, ok?


The Zephyr has a huge 59ft wingspan, but weighs only 31kg, maknig it extremely efficient. During the flight it reached a maximum altitude of 58,000ft, charging it's batteries during the day so that it could fly through the night. [BBC]

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