back to article Fuel-cell UAV achieves 'record' distance

A fuel-cell company has announced a "record-breaking" flight by an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) propelled by one of its fuel cells. Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies of Singapore revealed on Friday that the Pterosaur UAV had made a 78-mile flight in California. Lots of UAVs have flown further than this, but Horizon claim it is a …


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mini maybe, micro not.

these guys are still basically playing with RC planes. Many of the so called drones are completely ground controlled. I guess I should tell my girlfriend I'm spending the weekend working with UAV's and that the little helicopter is actually a "drone".

Micro in the hobby theater is much smaller. Micro aircraft are often ten inches or smaller, weighing in much less than a pound. I've got a "UAV" here on my desk that's only a few ounces, but it can't handle wind and hates the aircon drafts.

There are even already tiny "parkflyers" with less than half meter wingspans that can fly for 20 minutes or longer on a single charge. Guys build them for less than a hundred dollars with gear. Cheap cameras are available-plenty of homebuilt "drones" costing less than a hundred pounds sterling with better performance than many of these things police and government are being sold. And they're smaller. If the hobby industry wasn't about the fun and skill of flying these aircraft, then we'd already see micro scale autopilot and GPS guidance too.

Maybe someone needs to show them the Tower Hobbies catalog?

or, how long until this fuel cell stuff is available for high performance pylon or pattern racing hobby planes? :)


Sodium Borohydride

Millenium Cell's "hydrogen-on-demand" system is what Chrysler has been using for ages in their experimental fuel-cell vehicles under the name of the "Natrium" system.

Pass a solution of (basically) hydrated borax over a catalyst to produce free hydrogen and borax solution. the former goes to the fuel cell to mix with atmospheric oxygen to form water and electricity, the latter is stored for rehydrogenating at a later date.

Great idea - one of the more promising ideas for storing hydrogen for fuel-cell vehicles. Chrysler is claiming a 30mpg (presumably US mpg rather than real money) performance from its "Natrium" van.

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