The Air Strato electrically powered unmanned aircraft system (UAS) has completed its first takeoff and landing. Designed by European aerospace company ARCA Space, the Air Strato completed a short flight reaching an altitude of 82 feet and then landed.
Powered by four electrical engines, ARCA Space says the aircraft has a maximum altitude of more than 59,000 feet, and will eventually be able to fly autonomously for three days using solar panels.
"The aircraft had only 10 percent of the batteries intended for the commercial version so we had to add ballast to simulate takeoff weight. We also added two more electrical motors to increase thrust, needed on the rough ground to decrease takeoff distance that, combined with the landing gear suspension, provided for a smooth taxi and takeoff on rough terrain," said Teodor Diaconu, ARCA flight dynamics engineer.