Boeing’s Phantom Eye fuel cell-powered drone makes its 1st flight

After four years of development, Boeing’s liquid hydrogen-powered Phantom Eye unmanned autonomous aircraft made its first flight last Friday. It took place at Edwards Air Force Base in California, with the dual-propeller-driven aircraft lifting off of its launch cart at 6:22am PST.

In the course of the ensuing 28-minute flight, Phantom Eye climbed to an altitude of 4,080 feet and reached a speed of 62 knots. The Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft is actually designed to go as high as 65,000 feet, carrying a maximum payload of 450 pounds, staying aloft for up to four days at a time.

According to Boeing personnel, the flight marked a successful demonstration of Phantom Eye’s fuel, propulsion, guidance and navigation systems, among others. The ending was a bit of an anticlimax, as the landing gear stuck in the dry lake bed that the aircraft was landing on, and broke.

We watched video of coverage. The critter is dead quiet and four days flight time is impressive.

2 thoughts on “Boeing’s Phantom Eye fuel cell-powered drone makes its 1st flight

    • keaneo says:

      Actually, better at being a spy from above than dealing death. Not enough power to weight ratio to haul around serious armament.

      The point of a critter like this is high altitude observation. I wouldn’t be surprised if they ended up selling more of these to weather researchers than to the military.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s