Asymmetric Dialogue

China’s AVIC trials Venus solar-electric UAV

Summary 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.
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.

janes.com