China’s AVIC trials Venus solar-electric UAV

The Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) has successfully conducted the maiden flight of a 20 m wingspan technology demonstrator of the Qi Mingxing (Venus) solar-electric long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), the company announced on its Wechat social media account on 26 October.

A concept model of the Venus solar-electric UAV under development by AVIC’s First Aircraft Institute shown for the first time at Airshow China 2016.Photo by: IHS Markit/Kelvin Wong

Although AVIC did not disclose details of the date and location of the trial, it claimed that the Venus UAV technology demonstrator – which is being developed by its First Aircraft Institute division – was flown at a cruising altitude that exceeded 20,000 m (65,616 ft).

“Through the development and first flight of the large-size technology demonstrator, we have further mastered the key design, manufacturing, testing, and flight technologies of large-scale solar-powered UAVs,” the company stated.