The First Quad-Copter Drone to Fly Across The English Channel
A UK Team of drone experts are attempting to be the first people in history to fly a drone across the English Channel – a single flight of 34km! This is also the longest single flight of a quad-copter in the World!
Joining the ranks of Jean-Pierre Blanchard, John Jeffries, Louis Bleriot and Harriet Quimby the Ocuair Team will break a famous aviation milestone if they are successful.
A quick Internet search shows that not much has been done in quad-copter distance flying so the Team, from a UK commercial UAV operator Ocuair, aims to set a new standard in endurance and distance flying. This in itself produces a complex challenge.
This record attempt seeks to establish a number of world firsts in a commercially relevant way. Companies like Amazon with their Prime Air service and Google are already experimenting with long-range drones to deliver parcels. If successful, the team at Ocuair will push the boundary of what was previously thought possible on a commercially viable platform.
The flight, scheduled to take place in mid February 2016 will see the pilot in command and their team fly the quad-copter from a secured beach near Wissant in Northern France. He will then fly the aircraft manually towards Dover. The flight is scheduled to take about 69 minutes and cover 34 kilometers meaning the drone will have to maintain a speed of eight meters per second throughout. They will follow the aircraft in a boat to make sure that he is within 500 meters of it at all times. A beach has been secured in Dover to make the landing and once on dry-land the celebrations can begin.
Given that the pilot will be operating on the very edge of what is practically possible for a quad-copter the weather conditions are critical. Any type of adverse wind will have a severe impact on the drone meaning it might not make the distance. And given that they will be flying over water there are no second chances or emergency landings!
Ocuair pilot said:
“We have used the very best components available to build both aircraft so I am confident that we will succeed. During the flight-testing I have flow both drones for over 90 minutes over 39 kilometers so there should be plenty left in the tank if needed.”
When asked why he was making the attempt he said:
“Small, unmanned aerial vehicles are the next horizon in aviation so I wanted to see if I could do something to push the technology in a meaningful way. The UK leads the world in terms of legislation, I thought it would be good to see us lead the world in commercial UAV applications too.”
Full approval from both the UK CAA and French DGCA for the crossing has been granted and the Team will be operating within the standard rules for commercial UAV operations in the UK.