back to article Qinetiq trumpets midsummer robo solar-plane 'record'

Controversial warboffinry spinoff firm Qinetiq claimed a new world record over the weekend, saying that its "Zephyr" unmanned solar-powered plane had made a 3-day flight earlier this summer. However, the test took place in uniquely favourable circumstances. The Zephyr, a large lightweight electrically-powered aircraft, …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Why do people demo'ing something that doesn't achieve call it "a step towards" producing something that will achieve?

  2. Sureo
    Paris Hilton

    Re. Why?

    To keep the money rolling in?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If they do not 'show it off', they may lose funding and or intrest.

    Its a bit like buying a car in installments, they let you see it now and then, but you cant get it until its all payed for.


  4. Markie Dussard


    Presumably because that's precisely what it is, a 'step towards' something viable.

    Which bit of the phrase 'research and development'

    don't you understand?

  5. Scott Herter


    Because it is the only way they can convince the investors to keep giving until it hurts.

  6. clv101

    Poor show from The Register

    ...for being so critical of this achievement, of course it was done in favourable conditions! This is the cutting edge. The quip about the plane only working for a small part of the year is ridiculous.

    This represents a threshold being broken, sustained solar powered flight. We can expect the efficiency of every aspect to be improved over time.

    Would The Register’s coverage of the Wright Brother’s first 120 feet flight been similarly as critical and fail to see the significance of a new threshold being broken?

  7. Chris Long

    In other news

    Two brothers by the name of "Wright" today claimed that they had flown a heavier-than-air machine, controlled it, and landed safely. However, the machine can only operate just after dawn when the air is still dense, can barely carry the weight of one man, flew no higher than ten feet and only managed a distance of one hundred feet. One struggles to see any future in such pointless boffinry. Critics said the Wrights claims were simply a publicity stunt designed to attract investors. Orville Wright commented, "Well, yeh, like, obviously".

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So the core business of defence technology companies is to "make steps towards" things.

    You know that would explain a hell of a lot in terms of political and company activities.

    Why not "make steps towards" a Death Star? That would scare the enemy-of-the-day wouldn't it?

  9. Dave

    unmitigated twaddle Page, see me after school

    latitude of Kabul = 34.5 North

    latitude of Yuma test ground = 32.65 North

    Looking up the month-by-month maps of annual 'sunshine' (actually solar radiation in Watts-per-metre-squared averaged over 24 hours) in Def-Stan 00-35 "Environmental Handbook for Defence Materiel" (Issue 3), I find the following:

    January: SW USA and Iraq / Afghanistan bounded by the 100 value line to the N and the 150 line to the S

    June: both SW USA and relevant parts of Middle East enclosed in a line labelled with the 350 value

    July: SW USA now in a 300 zone, Middle East remaining in a 350 zone

    I conclude that Qq have - far from choosing an almost uniquely favourable location - modelled current anticipated operational theatre conditions in summertime very well indeed by selecting the Yuma proving ground.

  10. Robert Grant


    This probably is at least as significant a step forward as the Wright Brothers' achievement. It's certainly not a small incremental improvement.

  11. Head


    Well, well done for CueinetiCue.

  12. Toastan Buttar

    Bring On The Trumpets !

    What does that mean ?

    Bring on the trumpets !

    Stop saying that.

    Bring on the trumpets !

    Bring on the trumpets !

    But I didn't say anything.

    Hahahahahahaha. Trumpets.

  13. iamzippy

    Curmudgeonly Weasely Words

    We all know how El Reg is quick to link back to the 'we told you so' articles, but when did you last see an 'El Reg eats humble pie cuz it got it so feckin wrong and here's a link to our feck-up' type of article?

    Biting the hand that feeds IT. That's El Reg.

  14. Iamfanboy

    @ Chris Long

    Oh man, you burned poor Lewis good.

    I gotta admit, I enjoy his articles even if I have to take them with enough salt to be only 5% short of a lethal dose, but I must recognize your skill in turning his toes in the flames. Bravo, good sir!

    Plus, you made the point PERFECTLY. Sometimes, there are useless things that governments waste money on in a futile pursuit of a temporary advantage over a neighbor, but very often the military is THE driving force behind technical achievement - and many of those achievements were viewed as useless boondoggles by everyone except the person who believed in them.

    Lewis, sometimes you do have a spot of trouble telling the difference between the two categories. Pray, do lighten up a bit.

  15. David Sidebotham
    Jobs Halo

    Leave it to us

    Of course if they had gone for a pressure supported structure rather than the conventional rigid airframe and filled the remaining space with helium it would have been lighter than air not 66kg as flown. It could stay up most of the time at any sensible latitude. What a wasted opportunity.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like