Boeing thinks that it’s Phantom Eye, an environmentally friendly UAV, which is propelled by liquid hydrogen, has some pretty well defined applications, for which it has to be able to operate for up to four days at altitudes of up to 65,000 feet. While the UAVs first test flight was unsuccessful and resulted in broken landing gear, the second flight has been a lot more successful and ended with a “picture-perfect” landing.
Developed for a variety of operating ranging from emergency operations to search and rescue, the Phantom Eye’s second flight took place at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base in California. While during the first flight the UAV operated for just 28 minutes and achieved an altitude of 4080 feet, the second flight saw the zero-emission UAV climb to an altitude of over 8000 feet and remained aloft for 66 minutes traveling at a cruising speed of 62 knots.
Following the first flight, Boeing upgraded the aircraft’s software and hardware, including the landing gear, which resulted in the form of a picture-perfect landing. The Phantom Eye demonstrator is capable of carrying a 45-pound payload, including camera equipment, while it is designed to operate for up to four days at altitudes well above the cruising altitudes of commercial aircrafts.