Aircraft

Boeing's Phantom Eye autonomous aircraft makes its first flight

Boeing's Phantom Eye autonomou...
Boeing's Phantom Eye unmanned autonomous aircraft made its first flight on June 1st
Boeing's Phantom Eye unmanned autonomous aircraft made its first flight on June 1st
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Boeing's Phantom Eye unmanned autonomous aircraft made its first flight on June 1st
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Boeing's Phantom Eye unmanned autonomous aircraft made its first flight on June 1st
Boeing's Phantom Eye unmanned autonomous aircraft, aloft over Edwards Air Force Base in California
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Boeing's Phantom Eye unmanned autonomous aircraft, aloft over Edwards Air Force Base in California
Boeing's Phantom Eye unmanned autonomous aircraft lifts off from its launch cart
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Boeing's Phantom Eye unmanned autonomous aircraft lifts off from its launch cart
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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 (1,244 meters) 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 (19,812 meters), carrying a maximum payload of 450 pounds (204 kg), staying aloft for up to four days at a time.

Boeing's Phantom Eye unmanned autonomous aircraft lifts off from its launch cart
Boeing's Phantom Eye unmanned autonomous aircraft lifts off from its launch cart

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.

Data from the flight is now being analyzed, with a higher-altitude, more demanding second flight already being planned.

More details are available in the video below.

Source: Boeing

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5 comments
Derek Howe
the cart broke..lololol. I doubt the aircraft weighs much, they could have incorporated a built in landing gear made of mostly composites to keep the weight down, and wouldn't hurt its endurance to much.
Bill Bennett
landing successfully is kinda important don't ya think? epic fail here
mooseman
A **very nicely-designed** aircraft - well done, Boeing! I wonder if the fuel cells in this aircraft use platinum or not? It'd be good if they don't, given how hugely-expensive platinum is.
Slowburn
re; Bill Bennett
It hit the one bad spot in the whole lake bed and you call it an epic fail. Really?
Lou Muzzin
@mooseman The high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) Phantom Eye is powered by two highly-efficient, 2.3-liter, four-cylinder Ford Ranger truck engines that run on hydrogen and emit only water. Ford began working on this technology about a decade ago. No fuel cells, no platinum.