Hot on the heels of last week’s high speed rail trip from
Though the company failed to alert the authorities in time to have the flight recognised as an official record, there is no good reason to doubt Qinetiq’s claims, and every reason to expect that the diminutive sun-fuelled drone will soon clock up even more impressive performances. Indeed, Zephyr’s creators claim that it should ultimately fly at even higher altitudes for months at a time.
Zephyr is the most advanced of a host of international efforts to develop solar-powered UAVs, and many believe that the lightweight, relatively low-cost design could help usher in a new era of solar powered stratospheric platforms for everything from military surveillance to civil reconnaissance applications.
Ultimately, some claim that such systems could even replace the considerably more expensive low earth orbiting satellites that underpin many of our telecoms networks. If and when they do, the