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This Gigantic Eco-Friendly Drone Runs On Air and Spits Out Clean Water

Written by on Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

I mentioned Boeing’s Phantom Eye drone in yesterday’s post, but it occurred to me that I haven’t gone into detail about this relatively new super drone. So, what makes this oddly-shaped, eco-friendly aircraft worthy of its very own article? Well, for starters, just look at the thing:

It’s huge — and I mean really huge — making it something of anomaly in the world of drones. You see, one of the biggest advantages of using an unmanned aircraft is that you don’t have to include a pilot. I know that sounds redundant, but it’s still an important point because of the issue of weight. Once you cut out a pilot, you don’t have to have a cockpit, an ejection seat, life support systems, or any other essential features that a conventional aircraft needs to keep your pilot alive and well.

Cutting out those requirements opens up a completely new world of aircraft design. Drones can be as small as a toy airplane because they don’t need to haul around the weight of the pilot, and they can also have odd shapes because they don’t have to accommodate a pilot’s field of vision.

The Phantom Eye is enormous, but it’s not enormous for all of the reasons that we’re used to. It’s not carrying around people or cargo in that barrel-shaped fuselage — it’s carrying a hydrogen reactor.

As crazy as it might sound, this bulbous aircraft runs off of hydrogen, the lightest element known to man. For those of you who didn’t pay attention in high school chemistry, hydrogen is the “H” in H2O, the chemical formula of water. That means that the only byproduct created by this environmentally friendly aircraft is clean water.

You’d think that a water-creating reactor would be too dinky to put an aircraft buy antibiotics australia with a 150-foot wingspan up to a cruising altitude of 65,000 feat, but this engine of tomorrow can run continuously for four days. Here’s what I want to know: why doesn’t every single machine on the planet run on this technology?

It’ll probably be a while before I start working on a computer that generates drinking water as a type, so until then I’ll have to keep an eye on game-changing super drone. I may as well, because it’s going to be keeping an eye on us. The Phantom Eye, as you might guess by its name, is a state-of-the-art surveillance and spy aircraft. It hauls around about 500 lbs. of sensors and cameras that are powerful to notice that your shoes are untied from its lofty perch 12 miles above the surface of the Earth.

The US military gets all the best toys, doesn’t it? The Prius can get 50 miles to the gallon, but it may as well be a coal burning power plant compared to this water-generating Phantom Eye. My iPhone can pull off 2x zoom, but New York City would be a speck at an altitude of 12 miles. Will that type of technology ever reach the common, everyday market?

I suppose a lot of that will depend on the success of the Phantom Eye. People may not be terribly thrilled about the fact that it can spy on countries anywhere on the planet, but at the very least it exists as a reminder that green, sustainable energy might be a viable alternative to gas guzzlers. All we need to do is figure out how to put one of these hydrogen reactors into a car without adding a few billion dollars to the price tag.

If you want advice about the world of military aviation, there’s no better people to turn to than men and women who have sat in the cockpit and flown some of the world’s most advanced aircraft. With over 50 current and ex-warfighters on call, Strike Fighter Consulting Inc. can give you access to up-to-date, first-hand technical and tactical expertise.

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