stay Long in the air, which is an essential requirement for scientific as well as military drone missions. As long as a drone like a plane is constructed, this time is limited. Even if the shape of the wing may extend the time-of-flight: Only the air flow of the engines keeps the bird in the air.
British engineers have developed a drone for extremely long missions. From the outside, the Phoenix is reminiscent of a small air ship, it looks like a Zeppelin with wings. And this is also recognized correctly. The light noble gas Helium keeps the Phoenix in the air.
compression drive is the special feature of the drone
The special is the drive, because the Phoenix has no rotors in order to move forward. The Phoenix on A drive – and exhalation – it is a kind of octopus of the skies.
it works like This: the height of the Phoenix area sucks in air and compresses the gas mixture in a bag. By the compression of the Gas and with him, the Phoenix will be heavier than the surroundings, to fall it begins. The shape of the wing ensures that the fuselage is not unfair in the direction of the ground-directional coasting, but directed to pick up. After a while, the descent is interrupted, the Phoenix launches the compressed air again. The cell becomes lighter and begins to rise again, even this motion is converted into directed thrust.
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“This System allows the Phoenix to provide completely itself,” says project Manager Andrew Rae, Professor of engineering Sciences at the University of the Highlands and Islands. “The energy we need for the drive of pumps and valves, is provided from a battery that is charged from light flexible solar cells on the wings and on the tail.”
replacement for satellite
The Phoenix is 15 meters long and has a wingspan of 10.5 meters. It has already been tested, even if only in a hall. “Vehicles based on this technology can even be used as a pseudo-satellite is used, and is a much cheaper Option for telecommunications would represent activities,” said Rae. “Current equivalent aircraft are very complex and very expensive. In contrast, the Phoenix costs almost nothing.”
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The fuselage of the aircraft is made of Vectran, with wings made of carbon fiber – the design should be so cheap that the makers speak of the “negligible” cost.
in theory, Phoenix could remain indefinitely in the air, in practice, will be exhausted after some time, the supply of Helium. The Gas can be difficult to handle, a small percentage diffuses through the shell. So far, with a comparable propulsion system for underwater vehicles was used. In further experiments will show whether the Phoenix can also withstand storms.
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