Lapyx 2

Lapyx 2 flew for the first time on November 16, 2023. It flew twice again on December 7, 2023, after which it was retired. In all instances, Lapyx 2 demonstrated a successful launch and landing routine with no damage sustained. Each flight was approximately 10 minutes long.

The success of Lapyx 2 in comparison with previous prototypes was due to the new wing design. Instead of solid segments forming a wing skin, Lapyx 2 used a conventional rib-film construction. The ribs – a combination of plywood and balsa – are spread throughout the span to establish the airfoil shape. A thin plastic film is wrapped around the ribs to form the wing skin.

Onboard footage shows how the wings bend and twist during flight; for the most part, deformations are within an acceptable range. Lapyx 2 did encounter flutter, however at higher speeds. Though this does not completely impede the operability of the drone, it makes it completely unsuitable to house solar cells, as these would be quick to fracture.

Benchmarking power consumption and flight time, the improvements to be made are clear: no flutter, less weight. This requires a more complex wing design with torsion boxes, something implemented on Lapyx 3.