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Feature Story

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Phantom Eye's propeller is put to the test

Boeing's high-altitude, long-endurance Phantom Eye unmanned airborne system propellers

Boeing photo

The propellers on Boeing's high-altitude, long-endurance Phantom Eye unmanned airborne system have a 16-foot diameter and are powered by a hydrogen engine.

Boeing’s high-altitude, long-endurance Phantom Eye unmanned airborne system will soon be at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., to prepare for flight testing. The hydrogen-powered demonstrator, which will stay aloft at 65,000 feet for up to four days, is powered by two 2.3-liter, four-cylinder engines that each provide 150 horsepower. It has a 150-foot wingspan, will cruise at approximately 150 knots and can carry a payload up to 450 pounds.

But before it arrives at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base for testing, the engine and propellers are going through a series of tests at a facility in Santa Clarita, Calif., to ensure everything goes smoothly when Phantom Eye is flying at 65,000 feet.

Boeing unveiled its hydrogen-powered Phantom Eye unmanned airborne system during a ceremony in St. Louis in July 2010.

Boeing photo

Boeing unveiled its hydrogen-powered Phantom Eye unmanned airborne system during a ceremony in St. Louis in July 2010.

“We have to do a lot of the basic building blocks and understand the science and technology,” said Drew Mallow, Phantom Eye program manager. “It’s quite a way to come back – from 65,000 feet – if you have a problem.”

To see the complete story, click on the video report above.