Boeing’s liquid hydrogen-powered ‘Phantom Eye’ spy drone

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

Boeing flight
The Phantom Eye is an environmentally-friendly spy plane.

Boeing successfully ran its 6th test flight for the Phantom Eye spy drone, setting a new endurance record by flying more than 5 hours. That might not sound like much, but it’s powered by liquid hydrogen fuel and only produces water as a byproduct. Talk about environmentally friendly!

The unmanned plane has a wingspan of 150 feet and is capable of carrying a 450-pound load. Even though 5 hours is one of the longest flights ever for the prototype (early model) aircraft, the drone is designed to fly for more than 4 days non-stop at an altitude of 65,000 feet.

“This flight puts Boeing on a path to accomplish another aerospace first – the capability of four days of unrefueled, autonomous flight,”  said Darryl Davis, president of Boeing Phantom Works. This is an incredibly important feature for Phantom Eye to have, since its ultimate task will be to spy from the sky with high-tech gear. According to the company, the plane will carry cargo consisting of sensor packages for monitoring, tracking, and communication. They’re sure several government agencies like the Department of Homeland Security will be interested in buying the Phantom Eye.

Images courtesy of Boeing.