Wing of proto-type solar-powered plane
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Wing-to-tail guide to Zephyr, the 'eternal' plane

An unmanned solar-powered plane has set a new world record by staying airborne continuously for a fortnight.

The Zephyr was launched two weeks ago from the US Army proving ground at Yuma in Arizona.

It has a wingspan of 22.5 metres but weighs just 53kg. It has stayed aloft for five days longer than the previous record, set by a piloted aircraft in 1986.

The Zephyr was designed and built by the defence technology company Qinetiq in Farnborough, Hants.

Nick Higham talked to the project director, Jon Saltmarsh, alongside a slightly smaller prototype of the plane.

  • 23 Jul 2010