Phantom Eye flight tested

June 4, 2012 at 1:40 PM
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ST. LOUIS, June 4 (UPI) -- The long-endurance Phantom Eye unmanned airborne system, which is powered by liquid hydrogen, has completed its first autonomous flight in California.

The test flight from NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., lasted 28 minutes. The aircraft reached an altitude of more than 4,000 feet and a cruise speed of 71 miles per hour during the test.

"This day ushers in a new era of persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, where an unmanned aircraft will remain on station for days at a time providing critical information and services," said Boeing Phantom Works President Darryl Davis.

"This flight puts Boeing on a path to accomplish another aerospace first -- the capability of four days of unrefueled, autonomous flight."

Boeing said the flight demonstrated Phantom Eye's initial handling and maneuverability capabilities. The next test flight will involve higher altitudes of flight.

Phantom Eye's systems will allow the aircraft to stay on station for up to four days while providing persistent monitoring over large areas at a ceiling of up to 65,000 feet.

It is being developed with company funds as part of its rapid prototyping program.

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