One of the bigger issues with operating a drone for all sorts of commercial operations relates to how long these devices are able to stay in the air. Multi-copter drones might only have 30 minutes of flight time before a battery needs to be swapped out, while fixed-wing drones usually aren’t able to stay in the air for longer than 60 minutes. That makes the ALPHA 800’s 2.5 hour endurance one of the more important features, but it certainly isn’t the only thing to note about this new UAV.A product of the last year and a half of extensive work from Alpha Unmanned Systems, the ALPHA 800 is a new and improved Helicopter UAV platform that can complete missions in "fully autonomous" mode. It can take off and land autonomously, and with a weight well under 25kg, it provides operational advantages that are typically only able to be utilized by smaller UAVs. Those features are just one of the reason it’s already being embraced by professionals.““We are seeing a lot of interest from international clients who need a reliable helicopter UAV platform, at a much lower price point than the renowned Schieble products,” Alpha Unmanned Systems CEO Eric Freeman told Commercial UAV News. “The Alpha 800 is much smaller and more easily transported. Also, since the weight is only 14kg, it is far below the 25kg threshold which often implies significant flight restrictions. Importantly, given the much lower price point, the Alpha 800 can be used in many more environments, from sports stadiums where facial recognition software may run in the background, to coast guard search and rescue missions."The 3kg payload capacity is also notable, and it’s important to call out since Alpha Unmanned Systems has also worked on integrating a multitude of payloads and currently offers up to 15 different possibilities covering all types of applications for multiple sectors. They offer dual sensor cameras along with day and night vision to provide users with up to 40x optical zoom or high resolution and frame rate infrared sensors.The company mentioned that the ALPHA 800 has been designed for application in a variety of areas such as surveillance, inspection, agriculture, mining, mapping LIDAR and GIS. The ability of the drone to perform missions similar to those done by manned helicopters is also an important consideration when it comes to these professional applications.“When we designed the Alpha 800, our objective was to build a reliable and versatile helicopter UAV platform,” said Freeman. “Existing clients are using it in agricultural research, wildlife surveys, surveillance and other apps. As soon as the legal frameworks related to professional drone use change, we expect that our platform will be used for infrastructure inspections, mining and forestry applications. Some of our clients in the surveillance/border protection space have already found that the Alpha 800 platform provides the versatility and reliability that they needed.”If you need a reliable UAV solution with a 2.5 hour flying capability and can accommodate a 3kg payload, take a close look at the Alpha 800. To get a better sense of what the drone can actually do when it takes to the sky, watch the video below.