Global Observer Completes First Flight

AeroVironment’s Global Observer high-altitude, hybrid-electric, remotely piloted aircraft has made its first flight. The aircraft took to the skies over Edwards AFB, Calif., climbing to 4,000 feet and maneuvering under the watchful eye of its remote operator before landing successfully after one hour aloft earlier this month. “This flight marks the beginning of an exciting new phase in the Global Observer technology demonstration program,” said Tim Conver, AeroVironment’s chairman and CEO, in a company release. The company is maturing Global Observer under a Pentagon-sponsored joint capability technology demonstration. The RPA is designed to loiter at altitudes between 55,000 feet and 65,000 feet and stay aloft for up to a week, performing roles such as relaying communications or monitoring weather. With the maiden flight in the books, the company is now prepping for a long-endurance operational utility assessment later this year. (For more, see UPI report.)