Company unveils solar-powered plane designed at Calverton

The plane was unveiled at Calverton Air Force base and can be flown with or without a human on board.

The plane was unveiled at Calverton Air Force base and can be flown with or without a human on board.

The plane was unveiled at Calverton Air Force base and can be flown with or without a human on board. (6/10/16)

CALVERTON - Luminati Aerospace unveiled a solar-powered plane in Calverton today that is designed to fly with or without a pilot.

The company unveiled the V-Zero Substrata solar aircraft. The V-Zero is designed to fly high above commercial aircraft for months at a time. CEO Daniel Preston says the plane’s primary job will be communications, including beaming the internet to people in remote areas of the globe.

“I really can't think of anything that would have a greater social impact on a global scale,” says Preston.

The V-Zero was built at Calverton in the same hangars that Grumman Aerospace made the F-14 fighter jet. Preston says he'll be building more aircraft here, including one twice as big as the V-Zero, starting later this year. Grumman retiree Rich Freeborn is pleased to see airplanes once again being built on Long Island.

“It’s good to see this type of industry coming back here for jobs,” says Freeborn. “We lost all of our jobs in 1993.”

Luminati Aerospace says it expects to complete production on its next aircraft at Calverton before the end of the year. 

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