Plane maker Boeing recently launched a hydrogen-powered spy unit that will stay aloft at 65,000 feet for up to four days. Dubbed Phantom Eye, it is one of the most environmentally friendly airplanes available today. According to officials, this unmanned aircraft can carry up to 450 lbs, having a 150-foot wingspan.
The Phantom Eye is equipped with two 2.3 liter, four-cylinder engines that provide 150 hp each, about the same as an average car, making it able to cruise at 150 knots (170 mph).
The airplane can be used in communications and data collection, being a big step forward in Boeing’s efforts to build planes powered by hydrogen. Phantom Eye‘s debut flight will likely take place in early 2011 and it will be shipped from Boeing’s Phantom Works facility in St. Louis to NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center by the end of this summer.
“The program is moving quickly, and i’s exciting to be part of such a unique aircraft.The hydrogen propulsion system will be the key to Phantom Eye’s success. It is very efficient and offers great fuel economy, and its only byproduct is water, so it’s also a ‘green’ aircraft,” said Drew Mallow, Phantom Eye program manager for Boeing.