See the Sony Airpeak drone battered by 44mph winds!

Sony Airpeak
(Image credit: Sony)

Our latest look at the upcoming Sony Airpeak drone comes in the form of a new wind tunnel test, which saw the flying camera rig hold steady at speeds of up to 44mph / 71km/h – "a wind so powerful an average person would have trouble standing upright."

The Sony Airpeak was being tested at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, while carrying an unidentified Sony A7 full-frame mirrorless camera (opens in new tab), to analyze its drone propulsion system. 

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"Our goal here was to see how the drone could be affected by strong wind, and up to what wind speed the drone could endure," writes Sony on its Airpeak update page (opens in new tab). Our test results showed that the prototype could maintain stable flight up to around 20m/s - a wind so powerful an average person would have trouble standing upright.

"A drone’s propulsion system, which mainly comprises the propellers, motors and ESC (Electric Speed Controller), is essential to maintaining stability in strong wind. Airpeak’s propulsion system is optimized to ensure stable flight even in strong winds and features an ESC designed for superior control, highly efficient and responsive 17-inch propellers, and lightweight, high-performance, high-power brushless motors."

Of course, the wind tunnel test is a privileged one since the airflow is both constant and only coming from a single direction; the true test will be how Airpeak responds to changing, turbulent airflow that comes from changing and multiple directions. Though 44mph wind resistance is nothing to be sniffed at! 

The video also gave us a look at the true scale of the Airpeak system, with a shot of two engineers setting up the rig:

(Image credit: Sony)

The Sony Airpeak drone ecosystem (for it is a "new business", rather than a specific or standalone product) was debuted at CES 2021 (opens in new tab) and announced with a spring launch date, so we should be seeing more details about the system soon. 

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients as diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine (opens in new tab)Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show (opens in new tab). An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.