A new, ultralight aircraft made from carbon fiber has beaten the standing world record for longest unmanned flight, according to its manufacturer. It has
a 60-foot (18-meter) wingspan, weighs 66 pounds (30
kilograms) and is launched by hand. Snip from National Geographic report:
The Zephyr High Altitude Long Endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
stayed aloft for 54 hours during a recent test flight at New Mexico's
White Sands Missile Range, says London-based defense firm QinetiQ.
No observers from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI)
were on hand, so the flight may not officially break the previous
record of 30 hours, 24 minutes, 1 second set by Northrop Grumman's
RQ-4A "Global Hawk" on March 21, 2001.
But the FAI is currently reviewing a second test flight of the Zephyr
that lasted 33 hours, 43 minutes.