Unmanned Boeing plane can stay in the air for 4 days

Posted by Mike Luttrell

Boeing has unveiled a new hydrogen-powered plane that is not only one of the greenest and most lightweight aircraft the company has ever introduced, it also has the power to stay aloft for 4 days without a pilot.

The Phantom Eye's only byproduct is water and it doesn't weight that much more than a standard car, although its 150-foot wingspan makes it a pretty large vehicle nonetheless. Designed for covert and government operations, the Phantom Eye is one of the first hydrogen-powered planes to date. Boeing introduced the first aircraft with a hydrogen fuel cell in 2008, though that one was a manned plane.

This potentially revolutionary new plane can reportedly carry a 450-pound payload and can reach cruising speeds of 170 miles per hour. Because of low energy requirements, it can stay in the air for 4 days before needing to be refueled.

The two four-cylinder, 2.3-liter engines were supplied by Ford, each carrying 150 horsepower. The engines are not that different from what users would find in a Ford car, which is why the plane is kept relatively lightweight.

Construction of the plane is already complete and it just needs to undergo testing, which will begin later this summer at a NASA facility. Its first flight is set to be sometime next year.