Skip to main content
Skip to article control options
No Access

Long Endurance Flight Testing Results for the UIUC-TUM Solar Flyer

AIAA 2021-3196
Session: Unmanned Systems
Published Online:

View Video Presentation:

The growing application space of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) is creating the need for aircraft capable of autonomous, long-distance, and long-endurance flights. The two main challenges are the limited power capacity of UAVs, as well as the adaptation to real-time detected stimuli, changing the course of the mission. The UIUC-TUM Solar Flyer addresses the aforementioned challenges by balancing power consumption and solar power generation, and therefore enabling on-board data processing for real-time mission adaptation. The 4.0 m (157 in) wingspan Solar Flyer was developed from commercial-of-the-shelf components, making it affordable for a wide variety of applications. This paper describes the long-endurance flight testing results of the UIUC-TUM Solar Flyer from the Summer and Fall of 2020. The two flights presented and discussed in the paper are an approximately 1 hour flight performed under near ideal conditions and an 8 hour flight under non-ideal (cloudy and windy) weather conditions.