The Top Longest Flying Drones

Longest Flying Drones
Longest Flying Drones

Longest flying drones are elusive creatures. Often, they’re hidden away in the middle of a forest or on an airplane wing. The average flying drone is about 40 feet in length and weighs about 150 pounds. When you think of it, a long-flying drone might just as easily be called a Hughes Airwaves Special Operations Helicopter or Puma Helicopter as it may be known by its other names — Ansel Adams Ghost Airplane, Aurora Flight-Master, Ansel Adams Flying Secretary and Ansel Adams Flying Elephant. The list of the top seven longest flying drones goes on and on. Some may have been successful in their flights; others may have been accidently shot down by U.S. government forces seeking to kill them (the Ansel Adams Flying Secretary). Regardless, there is something to be said for being the world’s biggest craved destination for loners and doubters when it comes to exciting air travel. Here at the North American Aeronautics Council (NAACC), we keep aviation a top priority so that more people can experience the fantastic world of flight once again — especially if they are looking to become involved with space exploration one day soon. So here’s the list of our top 7 favorite long-flying drones:

 

The Ansel Adams Flying Secretary

This five-winged saucer is the envy of all medium- and long-flighting pilots in the world, who often call this airplane their “mother.” The Ansel Adams Flying Secretary, otherwise known as the “Secretary,” is one of only about a dozen such aircraft in the world. The body of the airplane has a single engine, but the tail wheel and the smaller of the two wings are equipped with two engines, giving this airplane a maximum speed of almost 90 knots (148 kph) and a range of more than 2,000 nautical kilometers (1,500 mi). This huge airplane rarely flies within our lifosphere, so there’s no chance of space debris hurting the earth’s ecosystem or any other living thing on board. That said, when the airplane is in the air, there’s an odd feeling that you can almost see the earth’s surface transform into a misty, cloud-like state as the propeller tips make contact with the wind.

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The Puma Helicopter

The Puma is a breed apart from the rest of the long-flying drones on this list. This helical-winged Chinese drone was designed to be a high-altitude, low-observable (HALoing) flight model for the U.S. military. The best part about the Puma is that it can be repaired like any other military airplane; all you have to do is purchase the required parts and have the skill to operate the machine. The Puma was developed to be a trainer aircraft for military pilots, but it’s also used as a tactical attack helicopter. Its two-seat pilots can see 100 miles (161 km) in under an hour and there’s no need for an altitude hold or extra precautions to protect the pilots and their airplane from strong airflows.

 

The Hughes Airwaves Special Operations Helicopter

The Hughes Airwaves Special Operations Helicopter was designed to be a ground-based trainer for military pilots. It has a retractable undercarriage that retracts into the airplane when the pilots are not in the air and can be used as a free-for-all for the pilot and the passengers. The helicopter uses a variety of gear to blend both military and commercial functions, including a handheld GPS radio, GPS navigation system, and a camera that can be integrated into the HUD to give the pilot an eye-level view of the ground. The helicopter uses an advanced camera system that gives the pilots a bird’s eye view of the surrounding area, but they must be able to see the ground without a visual link to it. It’s a combination that requires some training, but its use allows the pilots to see the ground even when they’re not in the air.

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