Zenith AeroTech has flown it’s heavy lift tethered drone, the Quad 8 multi-rotor, for more than 108 hours of continuous flight.
Zenith AeroTech is a leading developer of heavy-lift tethered aerial vehicles, known as TAVs. Tethered drones are ideal for persistent surveillance applications, where both flight endurance and the ability to hover in one place are important. With this latest test, Zenith demonstrated just how long “long endurance” can be.
“Small, multirotor-type drones are notorious for their limited air endurance. By contrast, tethered aerial vehicles, which draw power from a generator on the ground, can stay aloft for hours at a stretch,” said Kutlay Kaya, CEO of Zenith AeroTech. “But no other TAV company has ever been able to fly a platform for as long as we just did. This is a major technological breakthrough for small unmanned systems.”
The test, which took place over a seven-day period at the company’s facility in Afton, was initiated at the request of a government customer prior to delivery. The Quad 8 TAV, which carried an electro-optical/infrared camera and an Echodyne EchoFlight radar, flew for most of that time, only coming down twice, during lightning storms, which had to be waited out.
“We observed all the FAA regulations for day and nighttime operation,” Kaya said. “Our team was on site around the clock, with people taking 8-hour shifts to watch the TAV and the Ground Power-Tether Management System. There were two times we had to bring down the Quad 8, but as soon as those storms subsided, the TAV was back in the air. We flew through 18 hours of light to heavy rain with wind gusts up to 40 mph.”
Zenith AeroTech recently partnered with counter drone platform DroneShield. “In putting DroneShield’s DroneSentry-C2 command-and-control application, along with an Echodyne radar, onto a TAV, Zenith AeroTech provided a platform with a higher elevation than the standard mast,” says the press release. “This eliminated clutter and false positives, allowing for better counter-drone detection. Now it provides extreme long-endurance too.”
“By demonstrating more than 100 hours of flight time, we’ve opened up our TAV to all sorts of mission sets and customers,” Kaya said. “It’s a really very exciting.”
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
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