Robot airplane takes off from Canada on a 26 hour non stop flight…

That’s right on August 21st, 1998, a robotic airplane (Aerosonde) nicknamed “Laima” landed at Benbecula Military Range on an island of South Uist, in Outer Hebrides, Scotland. Well that’s where the story ends, hmmm, lets wind back the clock 26 hours shall we?

On the Tarmac at Bell Island Airport, St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, Sits Laima, an Aerosonde robotic aircraft. She weighs in at 26lb (12kg), her wings span 9 feet (just under 3 meters), with a one-cylinder, 20cc engine. What a sight to see for Greg Holland, who developed the Aerosonde technology. Oh by the way he is also the technical Director at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology Research Center at the time. Laima was built by design by two American Engineering firms, Environmental Systems and the InstituGroup.

Back to the Tarmac where Laima sits, her engine starts, all is a go, up, up, and away she goes on her long 26 hour flight. Self guided by GPS data (global positioning satellite), across the 2000 miles (3200km) of open sea of the North Atlantic, 100% unmanned.

Date:
      August 21st 1998

Name(s):
      Greg Holland

Occupation:
      Developer of Aerosonde Technology

Location:
      Bell Island Airport, St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada


For More Information:

  • Insitu Aerosonde Laima
    Named Laima, after the ancient Latvian deity of good fortune. This little plane set a record by flying across the Atlantic without a pilot — 71 years after Lindbergh’s historic solo flight. On August 21, 1998,
  • AAI Aerosonde – Wikipedia
    The AAI Aerosonde is a small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designed to collect weather data, including temperature, atmospheric pressure, humidity, and wind measurements, over oceans and remote areas.
  • Barnard Micro Systems – First Atlantic crossing by an Unmanned Aircraft
    The first UA to cross the Atlantic was the Aerosonde Mark I “Laima” flying from Bell Cross Airport in the USA to the DERA Benbecula Range in the Outer Hebrides, covering 3,270 Km in 26 hours 45 minutes at an altitude of 1,680 m, using only 5.6 Kg of fuel.

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