The first sign that the days of cripplingly short drone flight times are numbered, as Ocuair send forth the first quadcopter to make the flight across the channel
It’s the rather annoying limitation that drone enthusiasts generally downplay. The fact is that flight-times are the iPhone battery life of the drone world, and often you’ve barely got 20-30 minutes of flight time before your new drone will need to come back down again. This can really limit a drone’s videography potential.
However, we may have a sign that this is about to change, thanks to a British commercial drone operator Ocuair, who have managed to send a custom model across the channel, a flight time of 72 minutes.
The team launched from a beach in France near Wissant, with director Richard Gill serving as pilot, and followed the quadcopter in a boat while taking care to remain within the operational range of 1,640 feet.
A little over an hour later, they touched down on Shakespeare Beach in Dover.
The custom drone is appropriately named Enduro, and it covered a total distance of 21.7 miles, or 35km. The achievement has been officially verified by the British Model Flying Association.
Gill is clearly excited about the potential future this breakthrough opens up for drones, saying, ‘Drones are going to be the new aviation horizon. They’re going to change the way we do everything in the future, from delivering parcels to search-and-rescue and inspections. So, I wanted to be a part of that history.’
The video caption notes that the group obtained permission for the flight from the UK CAA and French NAA, which as we’ve seen recently is an increasingly important issue for drone users, so much so that Scotland Yard are considering using eagles to take down errant ones. Thankfully, Enduro’s flight remained entirely unhampered by eagles.
We’ve no word yet on whether the Enduro is going to be commercially available.