StratoAirNet Solar-Electric Aircraft Hits Major Development Milestone | Flying Magazine

StratoAirNet Solar-Electric Aircraft Hits Major Development Milestone

Bye Aerospace ready for next stage after successful solar-cell wing ground test.

StratoAirNet

Solar cells were successfully installed on Bye Aerospace's StratoAirNet prototype unmanned aerial vehicle.

Bye Aerospace

SolAero solar cells were successfully installed on “StratoAirNet,” Bye Aerospace’s prototype unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). It was ground tested on both wings of the initial prototype for the advanced, medium-altitude, long-endurance solar-electric UAV.

The StratoAirNet is a lightweight carbon composite construction and aerodynamically-efficient aircraft. The solar-electric UAV has a payload of up to 70 lbs. and “provides substantial customer capability with multiple sensors at altitudes of up to 35,000 feet.”

To avoid FAA airspace restrictions that typically slow UAV and payload development and deployment, the initial StratoAirNet 15 prototype (with a 15-meter wing) will be optionally-piloted. With a test pilot in the aircraft, testing is accomplished at a faster pace with reduced risk, including: solar, battery and propulsion system maturity, preliminary flight performance evaluation and autoflight control optimization.

“SolAero is a business and engineering partner in every sense of the word,” George Bye, CEO of Bye Aerospace said. “With the completion of ground tests for the solar cells on the wings, we can advance to the next stage of assembly and testing.”

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