HAPSMobile establishes internet connection from Sunglider at 62,500 feet

HAPSMobile flew their Sunglider, a solar powered high-altitude platform station (sometimes called pseudo-satellite) airplane, on its fifth test flight to an altitude of 62,500 feet, where its communication payload was able to provide an LTE connection to the ground. HAPSMobile is a joint venture between SoftBank Corp., a Japanese holding corporation with experience in telecommunications, and Aerovironment Inc., an unmanned aircraft systems manufacturer based in Simi Valley, California. The test flight, having started at Spaceport America in New Mexico, lasted 20 hours and 16 minutes, of which 5 hours and 38 minutes were spent flying in the stratosphere, a first…

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Bell and NASA perform autonomous drone test flight in controlled airspace

Bell, the helicopter manufacturer that is part of Textron and has previously announced its engagement in the urban air mobility market, flew its APT 70 drone beyond visual line-of-sight in the Class B airspace around Forth Worth, TX. The Autonomous Pod Transport (APT) 70 is a VTOL drone built for delivery in military and medical missions or commercial use. It can fly 35 miles (56km) at 110kts while carrying a payload of up to 70lbs (31kg). The demonstration flight was a joint effort with NASA, as part of its Systems Integration and Operationalization program, which looks at integration of unmanned…

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Sabrewing Aircraft Company sells 102 heavy-lift eVTOL aircraft in $600M order

Sabrewing Aircraft Company out of Camarillo, California, has been working on their Rhaegal series of heavy-lifting cargo UAVs. They have now signed a five-year representation deal with Arabian Development & Marketing Co., including an order for 102 Sabrewing Rhaegal-B unmanned, heavy-lift, Vertical Take Off Landing (VTOL), cargo aircraft with a total order value of $600M. Part of the agreement is the establishment of assembly, maintenance, repair, and overhaul facities throuhgout the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Africa, bringing jobs to the regions. Sabrewing CEO Ed De Reyes claims it is the first commercial purchase of an unmanned aircraft. We are…

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