Boeing Phantom Eye closer to second flight

Feb. 8, 2013 at 12:57 PM
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ST. LOUIS, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- Boeing's liquid hydrogen-powered Phantom Eye unmanned aircraft system is closer to its second flight following completion of a test at a U.S. Air Force base.

The test involved taxi testing -- the demonstrator aircraft, sitting on its launch cart, reached speeds of as much as 46 miles per hour.

Upgrades to the aircraft's software and hardware have also been completed, enhancing the Phantom Eye's capability for high-altitude flight. Boeing's team also improved the aircraft's landing system.

"We upgraded the autonomous flight systems and have achieved all the required test points in preparation for the next flight," said Drew Mallow, Phantom Eye program manager.

The upgrading of the landing gear, the result of the gear collapsing in the first Phantom Eye test, is based on a solution used by the company's landing gear for tactical fighter aircraft.

Phantom Eye utilizes an innovative liquid-hydrogen propulsion system that allows the aircraft to stay on station for as much as four days at a ceiling of as much as 65,000 feet.

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