October 12-13, 2019
Spaceport America in New Mexico, United States of America
STEM+C Inc. brought 6 teams of UAV enthusiasts together for the ultimate aerospace STEM experience at Spaceport America, New Mexico. Each team designed and built a remotely controlled aircraft that is capable of being towed up by a weather balloon, to an altitude of 100,000+ft. Upon reaching 100,000+ft the aircraft is released from the harness and then flown back to Spaceport America. Each team attempted to establish the world’s record for “Highest RC airplane Flight”.
Desert Rotor achieved an altitude of 82,516 feet with their custom 91″ Strato-Drak Fixed Wing. The high altitude UAV is pictured below along with the Desert Rotor team at Spaceport America. The UAV had a harness failure and got caught on the wing which increased the drag and descent rate to a point where altitude was not able to be maintained for at least 1 minute to break the world record which is approximately 32,000 feet with 1 minute of sustained altitude. The aircraft was FAA inspected and approved as an experimental high altitude UAV for the competition.
Desert Rotor piloted the custom UAV with the revolutionary 12PCX HOTAS HD and HDW Ground Control Stations (GCS) that Desert Rotor designs and manufactures. The team learned countless high altitude workflows and which contributes to the high level innovation for the GCS platforms.
Expect Desert Rotor to attempt to break the world record at Strato-Journey 2020 with a whole new UAV design to achieve this goal.