The Spoonbill unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), built by Taiwan’s National Cheng Kung University (NCKU), has successfully completed its maiden flight.

During its voyage the Spoonbill UAV flew 92km across Taiwan Straight to Penghu. It managed to travel out of radio contact with an average speed of 100km/h.

Spoonbill systems include a wireless module for data link between the aircraft and the ground control station (GCS), an onboard surveillance camera that takes aerial videos / images, and a video transmitter that transmits on-board video to the GCS in real time.

In addition, the onboard systems include attitude and heading reference system (AHRS) for aircraft roll, pitch and yaw angle acquisition, airspeed sensor, altimeter, global navigation satellite system, aviation computer and remote control module for ground pilot manual control.

The 2.2m-long, 3.7m-wide and 0.9m-high unmanned system was built by NCKU’s Remotely Piloted Vehicle and Micro Satellite Research Laboratory in April 2009.