Toward Eternal Flight by Solar Power: QinetiQ’s Zephyr Project by Chris Kelleher

A presentation by Chris Kelleher – released December 11, 2012

Chris Kelleher is the QinetiQ Technical Director for High Altitude, Long Endurance (HALE) systems and Flight operations Manager of Zephyr, the world’s first “eternal” aircraft. He has over 30 years experience of aircraft and spacecraft design and operation at QinetiQ Farnborough. He is married with 4 children, and flies light aircraft with the RAE Farnborough Aero Club as a hobby and occasional air displays, being a three times former winner of the British Aerobatics Association Advanced Level. He is also a CAA Approved Person for airworthiness flight tests (including prototype).

The lecture will describe how the Zephyr programme has progressed towards a truly persistent, high altitude, longer duration, operationally capable platform combining all-new, efficient technology- and how Zephyr has successfully introduced the new technology in a comprehensive ground and flight test programme.

Zephyr is the first to demonstrate that Solar aircraft are capable of “eternal” flight (of months or years) in the stratosphere with effective military and civil payloads. Zephyr is the world’s longest flying aeroplane without refuelling – a 14 day first flight at altitudes up to more than 70,000ft in July 2010, holding 3 official FAI World records for Absolute Duration and Class Altitude.

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