On October 1, the National Day, exciting news came that the International Aeronautical Federation (FAI) officially certified a new world record for the endurance of a 25-100kg class oil-powered fixed-wing UAV set by the “Feng Ru 3” team from Beihang University. The “Feng Ru 3-100” drone created by the team flew continuously for 80 hours, 46 minutes and 35 seconds, beating the previous world record of 80 hours, 2 minutes and 52 seconds set in 2014 by “Orion,” an oil-powered fixed-wing drone of Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences.
Successful flight of “Feng Ru 3-100” UAV
Developed, designed and manufactured by the “Feng Ru 3” team of Beihang University, the “Feng Ru 3-100” UAV is equipped with high-strength structure, ultra-low fuel consumption and full autonomous flight control capability. It is black with a wingspan of about 10 meters and a submarine-shaped body made of carbon fiber composite materials. The UAV, powered by a gasoline engine, has a total weight of about 60kg with full fuel. During the flight, it carries a simulated payload of about 3kg. The ultimate goal is to carry a payload of about 10-15kg and stay in the air for five days.
The drone is named as “Feng Ru 3-100”, which is not just a commemoration of Feng Ru, the father of China’s aviation, and those who have devoted themselves in the development of China’s aviation industry over the past 110 years, but also a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China.
It is reported that on October 3, 2019, the first members of the “Feng Ru 3” team of Beihang University has set a world record in flight endurance for oil-powered UAVs with 25-100kg maximum take-off weight (MTOW) after a non-stop flight of 30 hours, 6 minutes and 42 seconds.
In the following two years, the team has successively completed the selection and training of new members, and achieved breakthrough innovations in structure, power and flight control system, etc. The record-breaking second-stage team members consist of 25 undergraduates from four grades and different majors, with an average age of no more than 20 years old, and over 90% of them are post-00s.
Team members are processing parts in the factory
During the research and development process, thousands of hours of tests and more than 10 rounds of test flights were conducted to verify various performances. Despite of numerous failures and obstacles, however, these team members with an average age of no more than 20 years old were never intimidated to give up trying.
After several tests, the team officially launched the record-breaking test flight of the “Feng Ru 3-100” UAV in Xuchang, Henan province, on May 18, 2021. Observers Wang Baoqing and Liu Aiqiang from the Aero Sports Federation of China (ASFC) were commissioned by the FAI to confirm the duration of the flight and the validity of the flight activities.
Observers onsite to confirm the validation offlight records
The “Feng Ru 3” team is organized by the Fengru College of Beihang University. As a young innovation team, “Feng Ru 3” is a new exploration of Beihang University to cultivate top innovative talents in the face of revolutionary and subversive technological changes in the field of space. And now the team has welcomed its third-stage team members.
Photo of the “Feng Ru 3” team members
Reported by Liu Yaxi, Tian Ge, and Feng Jiarui
Photographed by Lin Zhaoru, Li Haohai, and Zhang Xiuhui
Reviewed by Li Jianwei
Edited by Jia Aiping
Translated by Wen Peiyu