U.K. solar plane record confirmed

FARNBOROUGH, England, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- A British solar-powered aircraft has been confirmed as a record-breaker following its non-stop two-week endurance flight earlier this year, officials say.

The Federation Aeronautique Internationale, the world governing body for air records, has confirmed three records for the Zephyr aircraft, including longest time aloft, the BBC reported Friday.


Built by U.K. defense technology company Qinetiq, the Zephyr completed its two-week flight in the United States in July.

The FAI confirmed the Zephyr smashed the previous record for the absolute duration of an unmanned autonomous vehicle flight, set by Northrop Grumman's Global Hawk in 2001, by a factor of 11.

The organization confirmed the official duration at 336 hours, 22 minutes and eight seconds.

Qinetiq says it sees applications for Zephyr aircraft in surveillance and communications.

The military could use them as reconnaissance and communications platforms, the company said, while civilian and scientific programs can equip them with small payloads for Earth observation duties.

Latest Headlines