The future of spycraft looks pretty heavy, if this new Boeing plane is any indication. Adding to today's parade of pretty new planes, Boeing unveiled a hydrogen-powered unmanned aircraft system Monday that will stay aloft at 65,000 feet for four days.
The Phantom Eye is not exactly sleek, but it's one of the greenest aircraft out there -- its only byproduct is water.
The aircraft heralds a potential new market in data and communications collection, Boeing says. Later this summer, it will be shipped from Boeing's Phantom Works facility in St. Louis to NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center for ground and taxi testing. The debut flight will likely take place next year and should last four to eight hours, a mere preview of the aircraft's apparent capabilities.
In terms of power, Phantom Eye is a lightweight -- it has two 2.3 liter, four-cylinder engines that provide 150 hp each, not much more than your average car. This makes sense, because Ford provided the engines, according to a Boeing news release.
The plane has a 150-foot wingspan and can carry up to a 450-pound payload, Boeing says. It will cruise at 150 knots, or 170 miles per hour.
It's the latest effort by Boeing to build aircraft powered by hydrogen. The firm claimed firsties on a hydrogen fuel cell aircraft back in 2008 when a different Phantom Works division flew a manned aircraft powered by hydrogen fuel cells.
Phantom Eye evolved from Boeing's Condor aircraft, also powered by a piston engine, which made history by reaching a top altitude of 67, 028 feet. Its likely descendants include the Phantom Ray drone, which looks like a slim B-2.
Yeay, another waste of money to spy on and blow up people.
I'm getting depressed....
- wise up
Does that mean if we get rained on were also being spied on?
"The aircraft heralds a potential new market in data and communications collection"
I like how people read.
PopSci you disappoint me. Aerovironment's Global Observer was not only awarded the JCTD contract from the government to develop a full scale prototype, but more importantly, it surpasses the Phantom Eye in endurance. Not to mention Global Observer is now in flight testing, and I haven't seen any article about that revolutionary aircraft here. As for Boeing being the first company to power an aircraft with hydrogen, the subscale Global Observer did that in 2005. Next time a little research in the small field of HALE aircraft please.
I'm sick of people bitching about small little things on popsci articles. People act as if they know EVERYTHING. This article is about THIS specific plane. Get a clue and keep it to yourself because no one cares.
You just painted fat man wight and put wings on it so you can sneak it past security. Aint foolin me.
Interesting technology. However, it's far from "green". Free hydrogen does not exist on the planet as a fuel. We have to make it. You have to consider what the source energy is for the fuel. Cracking methane, electrolysis of water, it all takes energy to make the hydrogen gas, sometimes a lot. The byproducts of the generation of the energy needed to make the hydrogen needs to be counted as well.
"One of the greenest aircraft" is sensational statement and typical of PopSci, but completely untrue.
Is it more green to use energy to split and compress hydrogen or to drill for oil and make jet fuel out of it?
"One of the greenest aircraft" doesn't imply anything to me other than an environmental comparison to other existing aircraft, which seems reasonably accurate.
Come on the aircraft is 100% green. In true liberal fashion you sweep the dirty little secrets about the filthy aspects of the fuel manufacturing under the rug. Also, isn't water vapor the most prevalent greenhouse gas? What is releasing greenhouse gas at that altitude going to do? Where is AlGORE when you need him - Oh yeah - he's getting a message.
Now if they can make a inexpensive car that can drive for 4 days, 96 hours, without going in for a fill up, we would have a revolution in transportation for surface dwellers. Imagine traveling 5,760 miles on a tank of gas traveling at an average speed of 60 miles per hour.
I'm with Moon Born looks like a bomb with wings and a tail that can cruise at 65,000 feet
well i agree with, maniacal engineer, and isn't hydrogen super explosive??
Yes, hydrogen is highly flammable(the LZ 129 Hindenburg should ring a bell) but the reaction only occurs with the presence of oxygen. 2H+O<->H20+E The heat though, due to the density of Hydrogen, would rise up and pose little threat to those below. The lower portion would crash to the ground. The problem this it getting shot at is that it is a spy plane... you're not to know about it so not to shoot at it.
ok to me,this seems like progress but in the WRONG direction.surely the time and effort ,not to mention funds spent here would be better used elsewhere.dont we need to think about renewable energy sources that are freely available all around us,like the sun and the wind?not more fuels that need to be made 1st? wars over fossil fuel are bad enough.If we all had a go at do-it-yourself renewable energy it would make the world not only cleaner and greener but easier to live in. my site can show you how to do this from scratch with a small budget.make the world truly GREEN and give it some thought.the planet thanks you in advance.
What method would you like to see used to spy on and blow up people?
Or are you suggesting, like some innocent child, that we would not need one if only we would not be mean and be nice?
I'm with rib2's thought. If we can put the technology 65,000 feet up why won't somebody, (environmentally friendly governments included),sponsor and/or subsidize it's use at ground zero? No offense Shell but I believe in politicians puting money where their mouth is.