Proteus Logs 1,000th Flight
The Scaled Composite Proteus, built in the late 1990s as a multi-mission, high-altitude demonstration aircraft, took its 1,000th flight this week. Since it first flew in July 1998, the Proteus has logged over 4,000 flight hours. The long-winged aircraft is designed to operate as high as 50,000 feet for as long as 14 hours. It can be operated by onboard pilots or as a UAV.
While first used as a platform for testing satellite-delivered high-speed internet access, the twin turbofan has proved to be a valuable tool capable of carrying 2,000-pound payloads into the high flight levels for at a reasonable cost. In 1999, before UAVs with real-time data streams became common military technology, Proteus took visual and near-infrared photos of AirVenture and streamed images down to the ground in near real time.