Imagine a battery-powered plane that has 10 engines and can take off like a helicopter and fly efficiently like an aircraft.
That is a concept being developed by NASA researchers called Greased Lightning or GL-10.
The team, at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, is looking at the idea initially as a potential unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). “We have a couple of options that this concept could be good for,” said Bill Fredericks, aerospace engineer. “It could be used for small package delivery or vertical take off and landing, long endurance surveillance for agriculture, mapping and other applications. A scaled up version — much larger than what we are testing now — would make also a great one to four person size personal air vehicle.””
The GL-10 is currently in the design and testing phase. The initial thought was to develop a 20-foot wingspan (6.1 meters) aircraft powered by hybrid diesel/electric engines, but the team started with smaller versions for testing, built by rapid prototyping.
“We built 12 prototypes, starting with simple five-pound (2.3 kilograms) foam models and then 25-pound (11.3 kilograms), highly modified fiberglass hobby airplane kits all leading up to the 55-pound (24.9 kilograms), high quality, carbon fiber GL-10 built in our model shop by expert technicians, ” said aerospace engineer David North.
“Each prototype helped us answer technical questions while keeping costs down. We did lose some of the early prototypes to ‘hard landings’ as we learned how to configure the flight control system. But we discovered something from each loss and were able to keep moving forward.”
During a recent spring day the engineers took the GL-10 to test its wings at a military base about two hours away from NASA Langley. The remotely piloted plane has a 10-foot wingspan (3.05 meters), eight electric motors on the wings, two electric motors on the tail and weighs a maximum of 62 pounds (28.1 kilograms) at take off.
It had already passed hover tests — flying like a helicopter — with flying colors. But now was the big hurdle — the transition from vertical to forward “wing-borne” flight. As engineers who have designed full-scale vertical take off and landing tiltrotors such as the V-22 Osprey will tell you — that is no easy task because of the challenging flight aerodynamics.
“During the flight tests we successfully transitioned from hover to wing-borne flight like a conventional airplane then back to hover again. So far we have done this on five flights,” said Fredericks. “We were ecstatic. Now we’re working on our second goal — to demonstrate that this concept is four times more aerodynamically efficient in cruise than a helicopter.”
The Latest on: Electric Aircraft
via Google News
The Latest on: Electric Aircraft
- Electric Aircraft Market: Growth Analysis & Forecast till 2026on April 15, 2021 at 1:11 am
The market research report entitled Electric Aircraft Market shows good possibilities in the Electric Aircraft Market during the next five year period and ensures more information regarding market ...
- Electric Vertical Aircraft Gain Momentum After UPS Orderon April 13, 2021 at 9:19 am
Vermont-based Beta Technologies has announced a second order within a week for its electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. Last week, an order from United Parcel Service (NYSE: UPS) ...
- Electric vertical aircraft maker Beta expands to passenger flights in a deal with Bladeon April 13, 2021 at 7:25 am
Beta Technologies just announced a deal to supply as many as 20 electric vertical aircraft to Blade Urban Air Mobility. The Blade purchase comes less than a week after Beta agreed to sell at least 10 ...
- BETA inks deal to secure first 20 passenger Electric Vertical Aircraft (EVA) for Bladeon April 13, 2021 at 6:30 am
BETA Technologies ("BETA" or "the Company") and Blade Urban Air Mobility ("Blade") today announced a binding agreement through which Blade will secure up to 20 BETA Electric Vertical Aircraft ("EVA"), ...
- Blade Secures Up to 20 BETA Technologies Electric Vertical Aircraft for Delivery in 2024on April 13, 2021 at 4:30 am
Blade’s asset-light business model leverages its strong flight volume and third-party financing relationships to facilitate the purchase of BETA’s ALIA Electric Vertical Aircraft by Blade’s ...
- Dante Aeronautical reveals timeline for electric aircraft developmenton April 12, 2021 at 3:33 am
Spanish start-up Dante Aeronautical has outlined its plans for the development of electric-powered sub-regional aircraft which should culminate in a clean-sheet 19-seater by the end of the decade.
- Meet the eSTOLs, a New Class of Electric Short Landing Aircraft That Will Change Urban Travelon April 11, 2021 at 5:59 am
But for a new, electrified generation of STOL aircraft, short-field landing spots might soon include urban rooftops as well as the Alaskan tundra. “You can have 16 electric motors across the ...
- UPS is buying up to 150 electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) aircrafton April 7, 2021 at 12:15 pm
UPS announced that it is buying up to 150 electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft from Beta Technologies to update its delivery network. Following the rise of consumer drones and ...
- UPS reveals plan to buy hundreds of helicopter-like electric aircraft to buzz around cities delivering packages — take a lookon April 7, 2021 at 6:45 am
The big brown delivery trucks in the sky can carry up to 1,400 pounds of cargo and fly at speeds of up to 170 miles per hour.
- Electric Aircraft Start-Up Accuses Rival of Stealing Its Secretson April 6, 2021 at 2:53 pm
Wisk Aero, a start-up developing an electric aircraft that takes off like a helicopter and flies like a plane, on Tuesday sued another start-up, Archer Aviation, accusing it of stealing trade secrets ...
via Bing News