Drones

Drone makes historic 72-minute flight across English Channel

Drone makes historic 72-minute...
The Ocuair team celebrates after their custom drone flew across the English Channel
The Ocuair team celebrates after their custom drone flew across the English Channel
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The custom-built drone used to cross the English Channel
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The custom-built drone used to cross the English Channel
The custom-built drone used to cross the English Channel
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The custom-built drone used to cross the English Channel
Trailing by boat to stay within 500 m (1,640 ft) of the drone, Ocuair's Operations Director Richard Gill manually piloted the aircraft across its 35 km (21.7 m) journey
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Trailing by boat to stay within 500 m (1,640 ft) of the drone, Ocuair's Operations Director Richard Gill manually piloted the aircraft across its 35 km (21.7 m) journey
The Ocuair team celebrates after their custom drone flew across the English Channel
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The Ocuair team celebrates after their custom drone flew across the English Channel
The Ocuair team aimed to push the boundaries of what is possible when it comes to long distance drone flight
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The Ocuair team aimed to push the boundaries of what is possible when it comes to long distance drone flight
Ocuair team members with the custom-built drone used to cross the English Channel
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Ocuair team members with the custom-built drone used to cross the English Channel
In making the first drone flight across the English Channel, the Ocuair team had a customized quadcopter, dubbed Enduro, take off from a beach in Northern France
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In making the first drone flight across the English Channel, the Ocuair team had a customized quadcopter, dubbed Enduro, take off from a beach in Northern France
Trailing by boat to stay within 500 m (1,640 ft) of the drone, Ocuair's Operations Director Richard Gill manually piloted the aircraft across its 35 km (21.7 m) journey
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Trailing by boat to stay within 500 m (1,640 ft) of the drone, Ocuair's Operations Director Richard Gill manually piloted the aircraft across its 35 km (21.7 m) journey

With today's topflight recreational quadcopters boasting maximum flight times of around 25 minutes, a 72-minute voyage across the English channel may seem beyond the technology's capabilities. But UK commercial drone operator Ocuair has defied the odds, traversing the waterway with a custom-built quadcopter in a first for unmanned aerial vehicles.

As wide as 240 km (150 mi) in some parts and as narrow as 32 km (20 mi) in others, the English Channel has proven a popular testbed for burgeoning vehicle technologies. From the first paddle steamer to make the trip early in the 19th century to the first airplane crossing almost 100 years later, innovative engineers have long been drawn to the seaway in an effort to demonstrate the real-world feasibility of their handiwork.

Trailing by boat to stay within 500 m (1,640 ft) of the drone, Ocuair's Operations Director Richard Gill manually piloted the aircraft across its 35 km (21.7 m) journey
Trailing by boat to stay within 500 m (1,640 ft) of the drone, Ocuair's Operations Director Richard Gill manually piloted the aircraft across its 35 km (21.7 m) journey

In making the first drone flight across the English Channel, the Ocuair team had a customized quadcopter, dubbed Enduro, take off from a beach in Northern France. Trailing by boat to stay within 500 m (1,640 ft) of the drone, Ocuair's Operations Director Richard Gill manually piloted the aircraft across its 35 km (21.7 m) journey to land on Shakespeare Beach in Dover, South East England, 72 minutes later.

In addition to acquiring its own little slice of history, the Ocuair team was aiming to push the boundaries of what is possible when it comes to long distance drone flight. Advances in this area could have wide-ranging impacts on commercial applications of the technology, with companies like Amazon and Google working to establish delivery drone services.

You can see a time-lapse of Ocuair's crossing in the video below.

Source: Ocuair

Making Aviation History - First Quad-Copter to fly across the English Channel

With today's topflight recreational quadcopters boasting maximum flight times of around 25 minutes, a 72-minute voyage across the English channel may seem beyond the technology's capabilities. But UK commercial drone operator Ocuair has defied the odds, traversing the waterway with a custom-built quadcopter in a first for unmanned aerial vehicles.

As wide as 240 km (150 mi) in some parts and as narrow as 32 km (20 mi) in others, the English Channel has proven a popular testbed for burgeoning vehicle technologies. From the first paddle steamer to make the trip early in the 19th century to the first airplane crossing almost 100 years later, innovative engineers have long been drawn to the seaway in an effort to demonstrate the real-world feasibility of their handiwork.

Trailing by boat to stay within 500 m (1,640 ft) of the drone, Ocuair's Operations Director Richard Gill manually piloted the aircraft across its 35 km (21.7 m) journey
Trailing by boat to stay within 500 m (1,640 ft) of the drone, Ocuair's Operations Director Richard Gill manually piloted the aircraft across its 35 km (21.7 m) journey

In making the first drone flight across the English Channel, the Ocuair team had a customized quadcopter, dubbed Enduro, take off from a beach in Northern France. Trailing by boat to stay within 500 m (1,640 ft) of the drone, Ocuair's Operations Director Richard Gill manually piloted the aircraft across its 35 km (21.7 m) journey to land on Shakespeare Beach in Dover, South East England, 72 minutes later.

In addition to acquiring its own little slice of history, the Ocuair team was aiming to push the boundaries of what is possible when it comes to long distance drone flight. Advances in this area could have wide-ranging impacts on commercial applications of the technology, with companies like Amazon and Google working to establish delivery drone services.

You can see a time-lapse of Ocuair's crossing in the video below.

Source: Ocuair

Making Aviation History - First Quad-Copter to fly across the English Channel

7 comments
yawood
That's not too exciting. All they did was supply it with enough fuel (presumably a bigger battery) and followed it in a boat to stay within radio range. I thought it was going to involve some great communications breakthrough so they could pilot it from one side or the other, or else have the thing fly across autonomously. Good luck to them anyway as it does constitute the first crossing by a drone.
Sven Ollino
It is interesting because it is battery powered (website mentions only 2x22Ah). Batteries add weight too and it has no wings to provide extra lift. Using amateur radio frequencies 100km RC is not a problem.
esar
A bit pointless having a quadcopter going in a straight line, a winged drone would have been much more efficient, or how about a tilt rotor for speed!
PlanetPapi
Don't know what is so great here to celebrate. I agree with other commenters. It's not a technological feat in anyway. YouTube has many great videos on long distance flights. For that kind of distance quad copter is not ideal. Fixed wings go further with less battery drain.
Douglas Bennett Rogers
This is a "first". Not sure what it proves. Surprised no one has done it with a "fly-by-phone" solar powered sailplane. Maybe they have.
Martin Hone
I agree. What's the big deal ? The Aerosonde UAV flew from Australia across the Indian ocean successfully, and all autonomously, over 15 years ago !
Franc
This article is very sparse on details. What is special about this drone? Did they add batteries? Is it lighter? Any payload? Is this a breakthrough, if so why?