Brunel Solar Powered Aircraft 2011

Brunel Solar Powered Aircraft 2011

Unmanned aerial vehicle using solar power to increase flight time

The Brunel Solar Powered Aircraft is an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle designed to increase flight time using 52 solar panels within the wing. The experimental aircraft also contains a payload of surveillance equipment, lending itself to applications such as military, wildlife conservation, environmental monitoring and cartography. The aircraft is based on a typical glider design, with a 3.5m wingspan and a V-Tail stabiliser configuration.

The design combines wrapped and pultruded carbon fibre; along with balsa, ply and spruce to form the main structure. The aircraft has a cruise speed of 10m/s and a maximum speed of 18m/s. The prototype aircraft has been successfully flown supplemented by solar power, while ground tests indicate flight time can be expected to increase threefold with solar power.