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After the Phantom Eye landed, it was slightly damaged when the landing gear hit the lakebed and broke

Boeing sent its Phantom Eye unmanned airborne system (UAS) on its first autonomous flight last week.

Boeing's Phantom Eye is a hydrogen-powered unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that is propeller-driven. The aircraft uses two 2.3 liter, four-cylinder engines capable of pushing 300 horsepower total and can loiter above a target for up to 10 days. Its main purpose is to gather information or conduct attack missions.

The Phantom Eye took off at 6:22 a.m. PST for a 28-minute flight. It reached an altitude of 4,080 feet and a speed of 62 knots. The flight took place June 1 at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

"This day ushers in a new era of persistent Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaisance (ISR) where an unmanned aircraft will remain on station for days at a time providing critical information and services," said Darryl Davis, president of Boeing Phantom Works. "This flight puts Boeing on a path to accomplish another aerospace first -- the capability of four days of unrefueled, autonomous flight."

After the Phantom Eye landed, it was slightly damaged when the landing gear hit the lakebed and broke. But overall, the flight was a success.

Previous to the June 1 flight, the Phantom Eye took part in a series of tests throughout April, such as navigation and control, pilot interface, and mission planning.

The Phantom Eye used for demonstration purposes has a 150-foot wingspan and can carry a 450-pound payload. It can fly up to 96 hours without needing to land, but Boeing is looking to make a new model in 2014 that can fly up to 240 hours without landing.




Source: Boeing



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RE: Hydrogen?
By geddarkstorm on 6/5/2012 3:03:12 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know of any hydrocarbon planes that can fly around for 4 days straight. There are a lot of numbers we don't know, unfortunately, to really tell us how potent this hydrogen system is compared to gas. My guess is it has a much slower top speed then if it used gas, kinda like an ion engine versus a chemical rocket; but no way to tell from a little test flight.


RE: Hydrogen?
By AppleMaggot on 6/5/2012 3:36:51 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I don't know of any hydrocarbon planes that can fly around for 4 days straight.

Here's one you forgot about:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rutan_Voyager


RE: Hydrogen?
By geddarkstorm on 6/5/2012 3:51:07 PM , Rating: 2
That is a very special exception, with some extreme engineering feats (and extremely fragile). Not your common or mass produced plane.


RE: Hydrogen?
By AppleMaggot on 6/5/2012 3:48:14 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
That is a very special exception, with some extreme engineering feats (and extremely fragile). Not your common or mass produced plane.


While certainly true (and I wouldn't argue the point), you forgot about this one as well. :)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Flyer


RE: Hydrogen?
By geddarkstorm on 6/5/2012 4:01:44 PM , Rating: 2
That one only lasted 2.8 days; so is actually not an exception.


RE: Hydrogen?
By AppleMaggot on 6/5/2012 3:59:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
That one only lasted 2.8 days; so is actually not an exception.

Ahh, you're right, my bad.


RE: Hydrogen?
By geddarkstorm on 6/5/2012 4:14:18 PM , Rating: 2
No worries! The whole February is missing 2 days bit threw me off for a second too when I first looked at the page. Then the international date line counts for the next "missing" day.

Besides, it shows what Voyager did is truly special, and it's nice having one exception correcting my statement.


RE: Hydrogen?
By Calin on 6/6/2012 3:06:00 AM , Rating: 2
"Not your common or mass produced plane"
Unlike this flying eye plane, which is common and mass produced?
I think a Predator drone with a fuel tank instead of the missile would have a long enough loiter time. Also, surveillance planes were limited to the endurance of the weak link between the chair and the windshield, so there was no need for higher endurance.
And if we're talking about common and mass-produced (within limits), there's the Russian Tu-95 (?) patrol bomber, with 28 or so hours of endurance


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