Sporting a 59 foot wingspan, the Qinetiq unmanned aerial vehicle is likely capable of setting a new world record for sustained unmanned flight. The previous record was set in 2001 by a jet-powered vehicle. The Qinetiq Zephyr
, on the other hand, is powered by nothing but sunlight. The solar craft was able to stay airborne
over the course of two nights using solar energy stored on-board during the day. The team in charge of the vehicle claims that it has stayed airborne for 54 hours, but this is not a record yet because officials were not present for the test flight.
Regular readers may already know that this is not the first unmanned solar flier
. The Zephyr weighs about 68 pounds and is made of composite materials. The plane uses an efficient propeller design to sustain flight and uses lithium-sulphur batteries. Hopefully, the team will be able to break the record soon and gain some additional credibility to sustained solar flight.