UK Students Make First Ever Solar-Powered Helicopter; Named SolarCopter

April 17, 2013, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

You have heard of solar-powered planes like Solar Impulse. But have you chanced upon solar-powered helicopters?

A team of students from Queen Mary College in the UK has developed the first solar-powered helicopter called SolarCopter.

The SolarCopter is entirely powered by photovoltaic cells and it is   designed for multipurpose applications. The prototype version of the SolarCopter can only fly for a short period but engineers have installed an on-board energy storage system so that it can fly for long hours.

solarcopter

Unlike the Solar Impulse, SolarCopter is more maneuverable and it is capable of hovering and can move to any direction like a typical helicopter. Most of the parts of SolarCopter are handmade by students.

The team created a unique design after several rounds of extensive testing. They have also made use of various engineering software to run the helicopter.

solar copter

Though the prototype model is small, it is an inspiration for large-scale projects in the pipeline. It could also help enhance the capability of already existing helicopters.

Moreover, the aircraft will be useful for a variety of applications like search, rescue, traffic management, transportation and surveillance.

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