This fat airplane is designed to fly for four days at altitudes around 65,000 feet--but it's only taking baby steps so far. Boeing shared some video today of the Phantom Eye's second flight earlier this week, which lasted 66 minutes and reached altitudes of 8,000 feet.
The plane flew at 62 knots, equivalent to about 71 MPH. It's powered by liquid hydrogen and it has to take off using a special "ground cart," or fancy airplane skateboard. The flight was Monday at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Boeing updated the plane's software and hardware--including the landing gear--after its first flight. Watch Phantom Eye fly:
"The first flight was pretty incredible, because it proved that the technology and our design worked, but this second flight is a major step closer to bringing Phantom Eye to the market," said Drew Mallow, program manager at Boeing Phantom Works in St. Louis.
The plane can carry 450 pounds of payload, so it could carry a rather large suite of instruments for surveillance. It produces only water as a byproduct.