Ohio State sets new drone speed record in flight over Lake Erie

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Ohio State sets new drone speed record in flight over Lake Erie

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Ohio State engineering students and professors set a drone flight speed record on this week. Pictured from left to right are Mark Sutkowy, Wenbo Zhu, Ryan Thorpe and Matt McCrink with professor Jim Gregory.

Ohio State University’s Aerospace Research Center has set an unofficial world speed record for an unmanned aerial vehicle, the university announced.

Ohio State’s drone flew with sustained average speeds of 147 miles per hour over an out-and-back course approximately 28 miles long, which also set a record for the longest UAV flight over an out-and-back course, according to OSU.

The record flight occurred on Wednesday and started at Kelleys Island Airport on the lake.

The official record is pending review and certification by the National Aeronautic Association and the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. An official observer representing the NAA was present for take-off and landing, according to the university.

In order to make the record flight, Ohio State engineers had to solve technical challenges such as fuel limits for the 17-minute flight, radio range for maintaining positive vehicle control, and collision avoidance.

The 70-pound autonomous jet aircraft opens up new capabilities for applications such as rapid package delivery or search-and-rescue, where both high speed and long range are mission critical, according to OSU.

“Setting a world speed record is a fantastic way to push technology forward,” engineering professor Jim Gregory said following the flight. “Aviation records have a rich legacy going all the way back to the Wright brothers, and we’re building on that tradition.”

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