Solar aircraft rounds the clock

Startup envisions high-altitude cell towers

The Eos-Alpha, a scale model prototype with a 15-foot wingspand, has logged up to 35 hours of continuous flight. Photo courtesy of Global Flight Systems.
The Eos-Alpha, a scale model prototype with a 15-foot wingspand, has logged up to 35 hours of continuous flight. Photo courtesy of Global Flight Systems.

A former Naval Air Station near Boston was the first chosen site for a round-the-clock flight powered by electrons alone, and the first step toward developing an aircraft capable of cruising above 60,000 feet for two years at a time.

Chris Bailey, founder and CEO of Global Flight Systems, said the 27-hour flight that began June 28 was cut short by a cooling issue; a week later, the scale-model prototype dubbed Eos Alpha logged 35 hours aloft (always below 400 feet, within sight of the operator at all times). Bailey said the company is seeking investors to back the next step: construction of a production prototype able to carry a 150-pound payload to 65,000 feet, and stay there. That aircraft, with a 150-foot wingspan, will be 10 times the size of the prototype already flown, and will almost certainly be tested first overseas.

Read the full article…

Leave a Reply