Solar-electric UAV prototype ground tested


Bye Aerospace has announced that SolAero solar cells have been successfully installed and ground-tested on both wings of the initial prototype of the StratoAirNet, the company’s advanced medium-altitude, long-endurance solar-electric UAV.The solar-electric 15m-wing UAV has a payload of up to 70 lb and its lightweight carbon-composite construction is designed with aerodynamic efficiency uppermost. The aircraft provides substantial customer capability with multiple sensors at altitudes of up to 35,000ft, the company envisaged.

The initial StratoAirNet 15 prototype will be optionally-piloted to provide for rapid qualification of customer payloads without FAA airspace restrictions that typically slow UAV and payload development and deployment. With a test pilot in the prototype aircraft, solar, battery and propulsion system maturity, preliminary flight performance evaluation and autoflight control optimization are accomplished at a faster pace, with greatly reduced risk.

George Bye, CEO of Bye Aerospace, thanked SolAero for its active participation in developing the StratoAirNet UAV: “SolAero is a business and engineering partner in every sense of the word. With the completion of ground tests for the solar cells on the wings, we can advance to the next stage of assembly and testing.”

Bye Aerospace designs and builds advanced electric aircraft products for general aviation, aerospace and defense, and the ‘atmospheric satellite’ market, for which the StratoAirNet is eventually intended. Recent completion of solar cell testing provided data on how much solar energy is being produced.

November 9, 2017

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