skyfront tailwind world record longest flight

Skyfront may have the world record for longest drone flight EVER

Just as you got all excited about the new DJI Mavic Pro Platinum‘s longer flight time, here’s a new record to beat.

Menlo Park drone manufacturing startup Skyfront’s Tailwind UAV may hold the record for longest multirotor drone flight with a four hour and 34 minute continuous flight.

Here’s a video of the record-breaking flight (the drone pretty much just hovers there for the duration of the video):

So how does it work?

Unlike something like a DJI Phantom or Mavic which relies on a lithium polymer battery, this is a hybrid gasoline-electric drone.

The company clarified that the tether pictured in the video was there to comply with the landowner but does not transmit power.

Skyfront is one of a few companies to claim to hold some type of drone flight time record.

The Guinness Book of World Records sites the Boeing X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle as the record holder for longest flight in space by a drone. The drone, which blasted off on an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral on Dec. 11, 2012, returning two years later after spending 675 days in orbit.

Boeing also holds the title for longest liquid-fuel-powered drone flight with its Boeing Condor, which first flew back in October of 1988. The drone was designed to fly for 80 hours, powered by two 175-hp, six-cylinder opposed, twin supercharged, liquid-cooled Continental TSOL-300-2 engines.

Neither of those two drones are multicopters.

The AtlantikSolar Unmanned Aerial Vehicle performed what its creators called  a flight endurance world record in its class. That drone was solar powered.

And earlier this year, the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems claimed its drone set the record for world’s longest drone delivery, carrying a drone more than 97 miles near Austin, Texas.

Other drones can theoretically fly forever, such as the ones made by Helen Greiner‘s company CyPhy Works, though those are powered by a tether.

Skyfront, which has funding from companies including Qualcomm and Techstars, said it hopes its drones — with long flight times — will be used for things like wind turbine inspections, allowing the drone to look at multiple turbines in a few hours without having to take the drone down to change the batteries.

And the company doesn’t intend to stop at 4 hours and 34 minutes.

“Within a couple of weeks, we expect our UAV to fly for a full five hoursand further out we expect it to travel for over 100 miles,” said Skyfront CEO Troy Mestler, Ph.D.  said.

The Guinness Book of World Records is still seeking applicants to hold the title of longest drone delivery journey, as well as longest RC model multicopter flight.

Maybe Skyfront should apply.


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