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Drone, Helicopter or Plane? The New NASA’s Hybrid Plane - By : Substance,

Drone, Helicopter or Plane? The New NASA’s Hybrid Plane


Drone, helicopter or airplane? NASA is testing its new ten-engine electric plane who takes off and lands like a helicopter and flies like an airplane. The NASA’s team presented the prototype at the Association for Unmanned Vehicles Systems International 2015 conference that was taking place in Atlanta this week (4-8 May 2015).

Called the Greased Lightning, or GL-10, the Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) has a wingspan of 10 ft (3.05 m), a dry weight of 55 lb (24.9 kg), and a take-off weight of 62 lb (28.1 kg).

NASA drone

Engineers David North (L) and Bill Fredericks (R) carry the Greased Lightning before one of its flight tests.

The flight test in the above video.

The GL-10 is an unmanned hybrid-electric aircraft that uses 10 electric motors: Four motors on the two wings and two motors on the tail section. These electric motors lithium-ion batteries are recharged by two diesel engines of 8 hp (6 kW) given it the ability to fly 24 hours.

Why this project? The Goal of this project is to confirm that this concept is four times more aerodynamically efficient in cruise than an helicopter and to reduce the technical barriers associated with integrating UAVs into the skies.

Greased Lighning (GL10) project 10 engine electric prototype remote control plane. Photo taken 8/14/14 by David C. Bowman

Greased Lighning (GL10) project 10 engine electric prototype remote control plane.

 Images credit: NASA Langley/David C. Bowman


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