AFTON, Va. – Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) specialist Zenith AeroTech in Afton, Va., demonstrating flying a tethered Quad 8 multi-rotor UAV for 161 hours and 49 minutes over the course of the week. Of that, 108 flight hours were continuous flight.
In doing so, the tethered aerial vehicle (TAV) far exceeded the capabilities of competing tethered drones and demonstrated its ability to serve as a long-endurance platform for persistent surveillance, company officials say.
The demonstration included flying through 18 hours of light-to-heavy rain with wind gusts as strong as 40 miles per hour. "No other TAV company has ever been able to fly a platform for as long as we just did.," says Kutlay Kaya, CEO of Zenith AeroTech.
The test was over a seven-day period at the company’s facility in Afton, Va., 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 because of lightning storms.
"Small, multirotor-type drones are notorious for their limited air endurance," Kaya says. "By contrast, tethered aerial vehicles, which draw power from a generator on the ground, can stay aloft for hours at a stretch.”
“We observed all the FAA regulations for day and nighttime operation,” Kaya says. “Our team was on site around the clock, with people taking eight-hour shifts to watch the TAV and the ground power-tether management system."
The Zenith AeroTech Quad 8 UAV weighs 24 pounds by itself, and can carry 20 pounds of UAV sensor payloads. Folded, the UAV measures 18 by 18 by 23 inches, and deployed it measures 46 by 46 by 23 inches. It has eight 22-inch propellers and uses a 120/220-volt power source.
Quad 8 has two motors and propellers on each of its four arms. The redundant propulsion systems means that the unit can land safely even after the unlikely loss of two motors. It can fly a combination of cameras, other sensors, and illumination panels.
The UAV is designed for persistent surveillance for the military, public safety, security, communications, and worksite illumination. For more information contact Zenith AeroTech online at https://zenithaerotech.com.