An Airbus spokesman said its Zephyr solar-powered drone set a world record on its maiden flight. It started in Arizona on July 11, after which it stayed in the air for 25 days, 23 hours and 57 minutes.
It is worth clarifying, however, that the British defense company Qinetiq developed the Zephyr in 2003 and only then sold it to Airbus. The aircraft is designed for many months of flights in the stratosphere exclusively on solar energy. The analogue of Zephyr is the "solar" drone Aquila, owned by the Internet giant Facebook.
The latest version of the Zephyr weighs 75 kg, while it can reach heights of over 21, 000 meters and carry a payload five times its own weight. It can house high-definition cameras, voice or Internet repeaters for remote areas.
“This is the most successful Zephyr flight to the stratosphere, ” says Jana Rosenmann, head of unmanned aircraft systems at Airbus. “In the coming days, we will analyze all the information received and start preparing new flights scheduled for the second half of this year from Wingham airfield in Western Australia.”