A British company recently made headlines when it successfully flew a drone across the English Channel — a feat which also became the longest flight ever for a quadcopter.
The flight, which lasted 72 minutes, started in France and stretched 32km across the Channel before ending in Dover. The company that conducted it — Ocuair, credited its success to sunny and calm weather. Turbulent weather with strong winds could have shortened the drone’s flying range, making the distance impossible to achieve.
To comply to local drone regulations, the company had a team follow the drone within a distance of 500m in a boat. The idea of having a team monitor the drone closely somehow saved the day as towards the end of the flight, a glitch occurred when the drone’s GPS system stopped working. This forced the team to fly the drone manually for the remaining 20 minutes of the flight.
Ocuair hopes that its record-breaking flight would help drone technology develop further in a meaningful way.
According to Richard Gill, team leader of the Ocuair flight:
I wanted to do something meaningful to stand out and show what this technology is capable of. Companies like Amazon, with their Prime Air service, have seen the commercial potential of drones. This attempt pushes the boundaries of what is technically possible.