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back to article 'Phantom Eye' hydrogen strato-spy drone starts building

Global arms'n'aerospace behemoth Boeing says it will now begin work in earnest on its "Phantom Eye" high-altitude hydrogen spy drone, powered by a pair of modified Ford car engines. The unmanned Phantom Eye will, according to Boeing engineers, be able to cruise for as long as four days at a time at altitudes of up to 65,000 feet …

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Word Association

A replacement for the Orion with Ford engines? Ford Orion anyone?

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Big Brother

Can't wait for-

The Phantom Menace...

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NRT
Coat

Trust me

That thing will never fly, the propeller is too small.

Nick.

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Paul McCartney

It also has no wings. Which is good, couldn't stand them.

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Black Helicopters

Anyone remember

the spy drones on Dark Angel?

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Coat

FORD

Found on runway, dead.

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Joke

Wow!

A Ford fusion you say. Powered by Hydrogen. An astonishing breakthrough after 6 decades of research.

Oh, It's just a name.

Well good luck with getting it flying anyway.

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Joke

JET

Used to work on Hydrogen - never got all that much in the way of Fusion. But when things disrupted it could fly about 1 cm.

(Sorry - old plasma junkie.)

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Silver badge

Bah!

If that engine is running on hydrogen it should float, yet we can clearly see it is being held up by a bog-standard Sears/Halfords engine stand.

Another fraudulent waste of taxpayer dollars then.

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Other manufacturers.

They tried it with an engine from Toyota, but the damn thing wouldn't slow down..

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Coat

Motor wars

Although the Toyota wouldn't stop, the Ford one can stay airborne for up to 4 days before it needs a complete overhaul at Ford-certified mechanist's. They tried a Porsche motor but the damn thing was flying so low that it stayed stuck in potholes, rather missing the «high-altitude» target. The BMV-equipped version kept tailgating airliners, with disastrous consequences (ever heard of the Bermuda Triangle?).

Etc etc etc

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I wrote Porsche but I thought Ferrari...

....of course.

The "Ferrari" one stayed stuck in potholes, and thus failed the "high altitude" test. The Porsche prototype was perfect. But for its tendency to explode in slightly uneven weather conditions.

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Porsche

No, sorry, the Porsche was a failure - they put the engine in the wrong place.

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And then...

There was was the one with the Corvair engines but it killed people and they covered it up. Ah No.. that would be a good thing for a military stealth aircraft ... no ... no ... wait .

Damn.

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Re: Porsche

"they put the engine in the wrong place."

Of course, what was I thinking?

Also, they made one with a Lincoln 7.5 l V8 from a scrap Lincoln Continental Mark III. Had they watched late 70s movies, a lot of lives would have been spared (or was it on purpose?).

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Citroen...

They put a Citroen engine in there but it was so fast that they couldn`t follow it on the radar....

Yay Citroen!

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Anonymous Coward

The engines are from the US Fusion, of course

which is closer in size to the European Mondeo and a rather handsome beast, rather than the European Fusion which is in fact a last-gen Fiesta on stilts, best served in beige with cloth trim and a Thermos flask

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Flame

Ideally suit to this use....

...being pulled from an American car, it's ideally suited.

It will have little need to go round a bend and as it's so high up, doesn't have to worry anout 3 inch gaps that let the rain in.

Oh and it eats fuel 24 hours a day for four days straight, where it has to come back to the real world before repeating above process.

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Coat

Could not use BMW Engines

The drone kept going to Poland...

mines the grey one with a helmet.

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Thumb Up

BMW

I heard they put a BMW engine in it, but they couldn't find a big enough w*nker to operate it.

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Anonymous Coward

BMW

And they just couldn't get the navigation lights on the wingtips to work either

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Jobs Horns

"Phantom workshop" ?

That's a phantom aircraft you have got there mate.

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Anonymous Coward

lycoming?

Why would they use a car engine instead of one developed for use in aircraft?

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FAIL

Small because of size

Aircraft engines are large enough to propel aircraft. At 65,000 feet the better engine for large framed craft is a jet. Unfortunately they are not very economical. All stuff that became obvious in the 1930's, hence total absence of any suitable reference and/or explanation in the article.

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Silver badge

Why?

Cost, adaptability to hydrogen (it's just a modified LPG injection unit), commodity training for the engineers, durability, ease of parts supply, fuel economy, advanced engineering leading to high power-to-weight (financed by the Motor trade not Boeing), no special secrets to be gleaned when they are shot down, ability to be maintained in your average motor garage with readily available tools when operating close to the front line.

I could probably go on...

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Joke

Hope its not a Ford Pinto setup

unless they wanted built in self destruct :D

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In due course

The Phantom Pregnancy ?

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Bronze badge
Coat

If you want to call it the "Bi-Motor"....

....won't you need to make it out of corrugated metal, and run the control cables outside the fuselage?

No, I'll get my coat then, it's the one with a copy of Jane's in the pocket, the very big reinforced pocket in fact.

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Joke

Kaa - Kaa - Kaa....

Wot ???

Where...???

WAaaaaaayyyyyyyy up there ..........................................................K

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Paris Hilton

once the first one drops from the skies

it'll be on the news as the Phantom Menace!

(Paris, she doesn't get it either)

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WTF?

Hydrogen engine?

If 'they' have produced a viable hydrogen engine, how come it hasn't been fitted to normal cars then? Oh of course, silly me, petrol is far more expensive than mere hydrogen that is more freely available, as well with a really noxious substance called water as a byproduct not that nice carbon monoxide stuff that's so good for our lungs.

Or am I missing something? OK flame away

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Troll

@Cheeky Chappie

"Oh of course, silly me, petrol is far more expensive than mere hydrogen that is more freely available, as well with a really noxious substance called water as a byproduct not that nice carbon monoxide stuff that's so good for our lungs."

You're also ignorant of chemistry. It is true that Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, often located in *huge* natural deposits called "Stars."

Anything on this planet has it tightly bonded with a large range of other elements. Separating it from *those* and storing the result needs a *lot* of energy to begin with.

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FAIL

You're forgetting...

... the nitrogen dioxide that will also be a product if the atmosphere is used as the source of the oxygen. Of course, this is produced in petrol engines as well, but most people forget it when considering hydrogen as fuel in a conventional piston engine.

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Silver badge

Hydrogen engine? Not in MY car!

Gas (petrol): rather inexpensive, stable in air at room temperature, liquid at sea-level pressure (i. e. easy storage)..

Hydrogen: costs an arm and a leg, spontaneously ignite in a very wide range of oxygen concentrations (including atmosphere's 20% O2) even at low temperature (ensures cataclysmic consequences for the littlest leak), gaseous in any earth-surface conditions (i.e. a storage nightmare and delivery: requires hight-pressure tanks with regulators and NO LEAKS).

Cooking gasses like Butane or Propane are actually much safer than H2 as they will only ignite when in a well-defined mix with oxygen. H2 will ignite (read "explode", in non-controlled environments) in almost any mix with air.

You want widespread H2-powered vehicles? I say you keep your car away from my home.

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FAIL

Core plugs ?

Hope they re-fitted new core plugs to the engine and didn't leave in the dodgy ones that leak and fill up the spark plug chambers with coolent. Saying that when they take it to Ford the mechanic[sic] will probably just tell them that it's not coolent but water from the washer jets - like they did to two of my family members.

Oh and don't even get me started on the 1000's of faulty coil packs they have fitted to the engines - the ones AA / RAC guys carry on their breakdown trucks becasue they fail so often.

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Boffin

Still unclear why Hydrogen?

It burns hotter than most fuels and its very low ignition percentage (Not sure if its for air or 02 but H2 will explode at a level of 4%H2, making even small releases quite dangerous) means in principle it could be run at a very lean mixture ratio but it's hard to believe either of those will counteract the fact that it is a PITA to store any significant mass (Liquid H2 is roughly 10x less dense than any hydrocarbon)

LPG, Butane, Methane should all be a *lot* easier to store and take up much smaller room.

I guessed the developers just though it would be cool to build a hydrogen powered aircraft.

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