Airbus Defense and Space successfully completed the new test flight for the Zephyr High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) in Arizona, USA.
The 2020 test flight was successful despite the global slowdown due to the Covid19 outbreak. The focus was on aircraft agility, control and operations to build on previous flights that had already proven the day and night stratospheric permanence of the unmanned aerial system (UAS) required in the military and commercial markets.
The flight, held in the first three weeks of November this year, aimed to demonstrate operational flexibility and aircraft agility, specifically to test low altitude flying and early transition into the stratosphere. In addition, the test flight allowed the validation of the new flight planning toolkit and the development of operational concepts for multiple flights at short intervals.
Jana Rosenmann, Head of Airbus Unmanned Aerial Systems, said, “We continue to mature our test flight, which has proven stratospheric flight, with the goal of being more flexible and robust to meet the needs of our customers. As a result, a major contribution will be made to next year's flight program. ' said.
The flight crew used a Zephyr aircraft equipped with new software control systems and special flight test devices, as well as the corresponding lighter test aircraft, to conduct multiple successful test flights throughout November.
The flights successfully completed their landings after performing the takeoff, climb, cruise, elevated flight control and descent stages. After the successful test flight, the system was shown to be more durable and capable, and all targets were achieved.
The Zephyr is the world's leading solar-powered stratospheric Unmanned Aerial System (UAS). The Zephyr fills a capability gap, complementing satellites, UAVs and manned aircraft to provide permanent local satellite-like services by harnessing solar-only energy, air and solar rays operating above conventional air traffic.
With the end of this year's successful test flight, the Zephyr is one step closer to operational reality. The Zephyr will bring new vision, perception and connectivity to both commercial and military customers. The Zephyr will provide the potential to revolutionize disaster management, including tracking the spread of forest fires or oil spills. It will provide permanent surveillance, monitor the world's changing environmental landscape and provide communication to the world's most difficult-to-connect areas.
The Zephyr team achieved great success by flying the unmanned aerial vehicle Zephyr S in the stratosphere for approximately 2018 days (26 days, 25 hours and 23 minutes) in July 57. The Zephyr S continues to be the aircraft with the longest flight time without refueling. The plane remained in the stratosphere day and night, constantly watching a dawn altitude of 60.000 ft, but reached its highest altitude of 71.140ft.