Luminati Claims ‘Perpetual Flight’ Solution
Luminati Aerospace, an engineering and research firm based on Long Island, New York, says it has created technology inspired by flocks of geese that can achieve “perpetual stratospheric flight.” Luminati says groups of four solar-powered drones flying in a diamond formation can “overcome the limitations of current battery technology” by taking advantage of the vortices created by the lead aircraft. Its theories were proved in a test flight in 2016, when the Luminati Substrata solar-powered piloted aircraft flew in trail behind Solar Impulse 2 as it departed New York on its round-the-world flight. Analysis of the test data has confirmed the engineers’ performance predictions, the company said.
The crew of Solar Impulse 2 had declined to permit the flight test to take place, Luminati said, but once the aircraft was in international airspace, they launched and flew the test anyway. “We didn't need their permission because we didn't require coordination with them and we didn't need to put any of our autopilot electronics or code on their aircraft,” according to Luminati’s news release. Luminati says the efficiency of vortex formation flight will enable small flocks of drones to solve the problem of how to provide Internet access to large parts of the world that lack infrastructure to support it.