Crop Monitoring With a Solar-Powered Aircraft

A high altitude solar-powered aircraft currently under development may one day help the USDA collect crop data.

| May/June 1983

  • solar powered aircraft - prototype plane with photovoltaic wing
    This is the concept, although the wings of any solar-powered aircraft would have to be much longer for the device to actually fly.
    Illustration by Fotolia/Dario Lo Presti

  • solar powered aircraft - prototype plane with photovoltaic wing
Lockheed Missiles and Space Company, Inc. is developing a solar-powered aircraft to monitor crops for the United States Department of Agriculture. Although apparently still on the drawing board, the solar drone — called the High-Altitude Powered Platform (HAPP) — will likely be a long-winged affair with a single mid-mounted propeller driven by solar cells located on two vertical stabilizers and on both sides of its wing tips. These extremities will fold upward during the daytime to catch more sun and return to a more aerodynamic horizontal position at night, making it easier for the craft to run on stored power. With a wingspan of 160 to 300 feet and a total weight of somewhere between 1,000 and 3,000 pounds, the HAPP will probably cruise at a level of about 70,000 feet, above the zones of high wind activity.





Mother Earth News Fair Schedule 2019

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: February, 16-17 2019
Belton, TX

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!

LEARN MORE






Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).


Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard
Free Product Information Classifieds

}