Impossible Aerospace has claimed its US-1 ‘flying battery’ quadcopter became the first aircraft of its kind to cross the northern Nevada desert without recharging.
It completed the feat in repeated 72-minute flights across the playa on August 6.
The flight marked the latest in a number of public demonstrations for the US-1, first unveiled at Interdrone 2018.
The aircraft used for the flight was an unmodified production US-1, carrying with it both a FLIR Duo Pro R camera and HD video transmitter.
With and against the prevailing winds, the US-1 flew distances of 29 and 21 miles respectively.
Spencer Gore, CEO at Impossible Aerospace, said: “The US-1 is the first major breakthrough in drone performance since the introduction of the quadcopter. More importantly, is the first battery-electric aircraft to rival the performance of a conventionally powered system.”
The firm said that although many electric aircraft have flown similar distances, the US-1 differs in that it uses propellers instead of wings to fight gravity, which requires more energy per mile but allows the aircraft to hover in place.
It went on to detail that the flight was planned to avoid operations over people and protected wilderness areas.