Last Monday Boeing unveiled the Phantom Eye, the prototype of a hydrogen-powered spy plane the company says will coast at 65,000 for four straight days. The unmanned lightweight aircraft features two 2.3 liter four-cylinder engines from Ford, providing 150 hp each. The Phantom Eye has a wingspan of 150 feet, and can carry up to 450 pounds of cargo. According to Boeing, cruising speed is a slow-and-steady 170 miles an hour.
The Phantom Eye is powered by an array of hydrogen fuel cells. As it surveys the landscape, at an altitude beyond the range of even the most advanced anti-aircraft missiles, the spy plane will emit only water.
"Later this summer", the Phantom Eye will take a trip to Edwards Air Force base for ground testing. The maiden flight is scheduled for next year, and shouldn't last longer than eight hours. Barring any sudden shift in Boeing or the U.S. government's timetable, production should commence by 2012 at the latest.