Fun & Games Science
Fuel-cell flier

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A fuel cell-powered remotely piloted aircraft buzzed quietly into the morning sky in a park near Van Nuys, Calif., August 25. The unorthodox flight was a triumph of collegiate innovation made possible by a nurturing program at California State University Los Angeles and a boost from NASA’s Academic Investments Office and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

The college figures this is only the fourth public flight of a fuel cell-powered aircraft anywhere, and the first to use an improved type of fuel cell that greatly increases the power-to-weight ratio available for the aircraft. Fuel cells produce electrical energy in a conversion process that uses hydrogen and yields only water as a byproduct.

California Students Join Small Circle of Revolutionary Fuel-Cell Fliers – Link

6 thoughts on “Fuel-cell flier

  1. Very interesting mostly because of the power plant involved. Other than building a really big R/C flex wing aircraft to house the engine I wonder if there are any plans to extend the usefulness of the design? The NASA link dosen’t give much information on the project or its long term objectives.

  2. More information and a nicer in flight video can be found here at the the MFDCLab site. I’d bet that this wing has the ability to glide quite some distance while it maintains a pretty slow stall speed.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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