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With its wings stretching 150 feet across the lakebed of Edwards Air Force Base, Boeing’s Phantom Eye- the liquid hydrogen-powered high altitude long endurance unmanned aircraft system completed its latest series of taxi tests in preparation for its return to flight.
Moving across the lakebed just after sunrise, Feb. 6, the Phantom Eye demonstrator aircraft, sitting atop its launch cart, reached speeds up to 40 knots, or approximately 46 miles per hour.
The Phantom Eye team is completing software and hardware upgrades to prepare for flying at higher altitudes. “We have upgraded the autonomous flight systems achieved all required test points in preparation for the next flight,” said Drew Mallow, Phantom Eye program manager.
The team also improved the aircraft’s landing system following Phantom Eye’s first flight June 1, 2012, when the landing gear dug into the Edwards lakebed and broke. “We’ve drawn on Boeing’s experience using our rugged tactical fighter aircraft landing systems as an example,” said Brad Shaw, Phantom Eye chief engineer.
The aircraft’s next flight is scheduled for later this year.
To learn more about Phantom Eye’s latest milestone, watch the video.