Bye Aerospace Solar Electric StratoAirNet Completes First Flight

New aircraft will eventually handle a long list of special missions.

Another Bye Aerospace demonstrator takes to the skies.Bye Aerospace

Bye Aerospace is developing the lightweight composite construction StratoAirNet for long endurance commercial and government security needs. The company’s newest aircraft, which will operate as an “atmospheric satellite” UAV, successfully completed its maiden flight last week at Northern Colorado Regional Airport north of Loveland. The flight comes just a few months after another of the company’s new vehicles, the Sun-Flyer 2, completed its maiden voyage from the same airport.

The StratoAirNet’s 50-foot wingspan is packed with SolAero high efficiency PV cells that under ideal daylight conditions at altitude, can deliver some 2,000 watts of energy for sustained flight.

Though the maiden voyage included a pilot on board, subsequent flights of the aircraft are destined to transform the machine into an “atmospheric satellite” UAV, supporting a long list of endurance missions such as communications relay, mapping, search and rescue, firefighting command and control, anti-poaching, severe weather tracking, agriculture monitoring, mineral source surveying and spill detection.

Bye Aerospace says that the StratoAirNet aircraft, and sister Solesa piloted systems, should have a lower unit cost compared to traditional systems, as well as lower operating costs, lower heat and noise signatures and enhanced utility.