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Trans-Atlantic Crossing

20 - 21 August, 1998

Aerosonde "Laima" was the first unmanned aircraft to cross the north atlantic. The crossing was completed within 15 minutes of schedule after a flight of 3270 km in a time of 26 h 45 min.

At 09:59 UTC on 20 August 1998, Aerosonde "Laima" commenced its trans Atlantic flight at Bell Island Airport using manual control and launch from the car roof rack. Autonomous flight was commanded soon after takeoff.

The specified flight plan consisted of a series of way points for a route that went slightly south of a great circle (shortest distance) to the landing site at DERA Benbecula Range in the Outer Hebrides.

Altitude was specified at 1680m, dropping to around 150m on approach to Benbecula.

Satellaite imagery for the period indicated that "Laima" was in moderate to heavy rain for 14-18 hours, or well over half the entire flight.

"Laima" contacted the landing crew at Benbecula at 12:15 UTC and was brought into land under manual control at 12:44 UTC. The landing was within 15 minutes of scheduleafter a flight of 3270km in a time of 26 h 45 min.

And all on a gallon and a half of fuel!


Aerosonde "Laima" is on permanent display in the Seattle Air and Space Museum.

 


Flight Path of Aerosonde "Laima"

Takeoff
Bell Island 09.59 UTC, 20 August 1998

Flight Path
3270 Kilometres 26 hours 45 minutes

Touchdown
Benbecula 12.44 UTC, 21 August 1998

 

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