June 8, 2012

Phantom Eye takes to sky

Boeing photograph

Phantom Eye unmanned airborne system completed its first autonomous flight June 1 at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base. The 28-minute flight began at 6:22 a.m. Pacific time as the liquid-hydrogen powered aircraft lifted off its launch cart. Phantom Eye climbed to an altitude of 4,080 feet and reached a cruising speed of 62 knots. After touching down, the vehicle sustained some damage when the landing gear dug into the lakebed and broke. Boeing officials said the day ushered in a new era of persistent Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance where an unmanned aircraft will remain on station for days at a time providing critical information and services. The flight took place following a series of taxi tests in April that validated ground guidance, navigation and control, mission planning, pilot interface and operational procedures.

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