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NASA X-57 Maxwell — GREEN AIR, BLUE SKIES

NASA’S ELECTRIC RESEARCH PLANES

by Katherine Arteche

THE IDEA OF ELECTRIC AIRCRAFT ISN’T EXACTLY NEW. We’ve been there, but we haven’t done it all – yet. NASA just revived its X-planes research with a new experimental aircraft, after last having done so more than 10 years ago.

Let’s take a look. The X-57, nicknamed “Maxwell”, is a product of NASA’s 10-year New Aviation Horizons project. It aims to reduce the need for fuel use, heat and gas emissions and instead turn to a quieter and greener alternative for air travel.The X-57 Maxwell is a lightweight aircraft that will run on a total of 14 electric motors, but only two will be used for cruising. The plane will be dependent on additional airflow from the other motors that will generate a greater lift, resulting in a narrow wing. In this distribution of electrical power, NASA estimates it could also possibly result in lower energy required to cruise at a maximum speed of 175 mph. At the recent annual Aviation and Aeronautics Forum and Exposition, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden went on record with this: “With the return of piloted X-planes to NASA’s research capabilities, the general aviation-sized X-57 will take the first step in opening a new era of aviation.”

(Source: NASA and Wikipedia)