At the end of September 2010, ARPA-E granted Makani the funds to develop Wing 7, a small scale prototype of our megawatt airborne wind turbine design. What followed over the next eighteen months was a combination of hard work and inspiring results. Wing 7 can now launch from a perch, transition into crosswind flight, generate power, return to hover and finally hover back into the perch. Our prototype has flown in high winds (>15 m/s [34 mph]) and demonstrated a measured power output that matches our expectations. With footage compiled from these tests, we can now begin to see the operation of a full-scale system in the real world.
We are now shifting focus to demonstrate a fully standalone Wing 7 system that can operate for days at a time without human input. We will also begin the development of components critical to the design of our first utility scale system, the M600. We have organized a panel of industry experts representing companies ranging from aerospace to project development, and within eighteen months we will have demonstrated the commercial viability of an airborne wind turbine and tested the major components needed for our first utility scale wing.