California-based Skyfront flew from sunrise to sunset and wanted to prove that the commercial hybrid Skyfront Perimeter 8 could break the record for a multi-rotor flight. * The Skyfront gas-electric hybrid flew 205 miles and achieved a flight of 13 mile hours and 4 minutes. The flight was captured by the drone’s built-in 360-degree cameras (see video below) and showed the potential for making industrial applications more efficient by eliminating the need for frequent stops for charging and refueling.
This is the second time Skyfront has claimed the record. DRONELIFE first reported Skyfront’s flight time in 2017, when the company recorded a flight of 4 hours and 34 minutes with its first hybrid product, the Skyfront Tailwind. Skyfront has perfected its offering over the past four years: this latest record flight was achieved with the light and powerful Skyfront Perimeter 8. Perimeter 8 is “the company’s most advanced 8-rotor drone, designed to meet Even’s capabilities and surpass even the most advanced helicopters,” the company said in a press release. “The hybrid petrol engine with fuel injection developed by Skyfront replaces the battery and extends flight times by a factor of twenty.”
Flight endurance is of great importance to the drone industry. Battery powered drones are limited by flight times, sometimes as short as 15 minutes, and the short flight time problem is exacerbated when drones carry heavy payloads such as LiDAR equipment. Hydrogen-powered drones are one solution: however, they may require companies working in remote areas to make their own fuel, which can mean buying and moving additional hardware. Hybrid drones such as the Skyfront gas-electric hybrid offer a viable alternative.
According to Troy Mestler, CEO of Skyfront, the feat could mean public safety and corporate customers can use drones instead of helicopters for many applications. “Equipped with an additional fuel tank, Perimeter 8 has captured the sun, which crosses the sky and rises and sets over the California coastal areas,” says Mestler. “This flight signals a paradigm shift in aviation for public safety and commercial applications.”