Facebook Aquila internet beaming drone completes second test flight


Facebook said on Thursday it had finished a second test of its Aquila drone designed to some day beam internet access to remote parts of the planet, and not at all like in the first test, the drone did not crash.

Facebook plans to develop a fleet of drones fueled by sunlight that will fly for months at a time, speaking with each other through lasers and extending web connectivity to the ground below.

The organization called the first test, in June 2016, a success after it flew above the Arizona desert for 1 hour and 36 minutes, three times longer than planned. It later said the drone had likewise crashed moments before landing and had suffered a damaged wing.

The second test happened on May 22, Martin Luis Gomez, Facebook’s director of aeronautical platforms, said in a blog post. The aircraft flew for an hour and 46 minutes before landing near Yuma, Arizona, with just “a couple of minor, easily- repairable dings,” he said.

Facebook engineers had included “spoilers” to the air aircraft’s wings to increase drag and lessen lift amid the landing approach, Gomez said.