September 11, 2007
By Alton K. Marsh
A London-based company, QinetiQ, has maintained its increasing line of successes in the New Mexico desert with solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
The latest, a 66-pound, carbon-fiber Zephyr High Altitude Long Endurance UAV described as hand-launched despite its 59-foot wingspan, stayed aloft 54 hours at 58,355 feet. It won't be a record, though, because the secret test wasn't registered in advance with the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, the official keeper of world aviation records.
The research vehicle was sponsored by the U.K. Ministry of Defense. It carried a surveillance payload during the flight and on a second flight to 52,247 feet lasting nearly 34 hours. It is powered by paper-thin silicon arrays and survived at night on lithium-sulfur batteries.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
Continuing significant orders to the training market shows that Piper Aircraft is making progress in its three-year plan to gain market share in that competitive arena.
L-3 Aviation Products plans to join the general aviation ADS-B world with its Lynx MultiLink Surveillance System. The new products will be “specifically tailored to fit the panel and budget of today’s general aviation aircraft and pilots,” said Larry Riddle, vice president of sales and marketing.
It was a big day for the newly resurrected Mooney International Corp. Mooney president Jerry Chen handed over the keys to the first airplane to roll out of the Kerrville, Texas, manufacturer’s newly reactivated factory site.
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