The Wing 7 program is an 18-month project with quarterly milestones. This flight marks the completion of Makani’s third milestone and the halfway point of the project. Makani plans to demonstrate launching and landing to a perch and a full power curve compliant with IEC standards.
The Makani team has achieved a significant milestone in the pursuit of inexpensive renewable energy during this flight of its latest prototype, Wing 7. Wing 7 has a wing span of 8 meters, weighs 58.4 kg and has a rated power of 30 kW.
This was the first flight of its kind to demonstrate both power generation and the autonomous flight modes needed for launching, landing and crosswind flight.
More info about flights and the project can be see in the News section of our website.
In the push to complete a power generation flight within the development timeline, the team conducted 60 tests of Wing 7 during 16 test days. This required a number of sleepless nights, including one in the field. On the day of the milestone flight, the team woke before dawn, set up the wing and waited for the high wind that was forecast for 6 am, but the air remained calm. Later that afternoon, after moving to a slightly windier spot, wind arrived and the rest is history.
The graph below shows the flight path of the wing from launch to transition and into circular flight. Once in circular flight, the path is repeatable, demonstrating the effectiveness of Makani’s controller in minimizing the effect of gusts and changes in wind direction.