SOLAR: A Solar Powered Unmanned Aircraft System

  • Brandon Free Miami University
  • Joe Hayden Miami University
  • David Ternick Miami University
  • MacKenzie Hull Miami University
  • Dan Thompson Miami University
  • Loy McGuire Miami University


There is an ever-increasing need in industry and the scientific community in general for unmanned endurance drones and aircraft. Facebook, Amazon, Airbus, the military, search and rescue teams, and healthcare centers all have a need for these kind of drones whose uses vary based on the specific need. Whether it is a new way of providing WiFi in remote areas, package delivery, the need to expedite medical equipment, or using radar and camera technology to perform search and rescue, there are a plethora of suitable applications. One way to meet this need is to use solar and battery technology in order to provide long-distance, self-sustained flight for an extended time period. Our project entails building and designing a solar-powered plane with ability to be remote-controlled and carry a specified weight as cargo incorporated into the design. The drone will likely be classified as a Class 3, close range (less than 5000 ft of altitude), Level 0 remotely piloted vehicle; however the drone will not reach a top speed of 100 mph speed as most Class 3 drones do.