On February 13, 2014, Air Strato, electrical powered unmanned aerial vehicle performed the first take-off from rough ground. The aircraft performed a short flight at 25 m altitude and then landed.
Air Strato was powered by four electrical engines.
Two supplementary engines were added in order to shorten the take-off distance. Other additions ware suspensions installed on main and forward landing gear.
The right landing gear suspension was damaged at touch down.
“The aircraft had only 10 percent of the batteries intended for the commercial version so we had to add ballast to simulate take-off weight. We also added two more electrical motors to increase thrust, needed on the rough ground to decrease take-off distance that, combined with the landing gear suspension, provided for a smooth taxi and take-off on rough terrain. It took less than 30 m to lift into the air at maximum thrust. Also we were impressed by the aircraft’s rate of climb.” – Teodor Diaconu, ARCA flight dynamics engineer.
Air Strato is a high altitude electrical powered unmanned aerial vehicle. It can reach altitudes of above 18 km and has an autonomy of 7 hours on internal batteries and 3 days using solar panels. It can carry a variable payload up to 30 kg consisting of surveillance equipment or other scientific instruments.