NASA’s Greased Lightning 10 Engine VTOL Electric Plane Completes Test Flight


Forget about quadcopters, NASA has just one-upped the fledgling drone enthusiast community big time. NASA’s Greased Lightning is a ten engine electric plane with vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) capabilities. This new flier boasts a 10′ wingspan, and transforms in mid-air. It takes off like a helicopter, then the wings tilt forward and it flies more efficiently as an airplane. Check out Greased Lightning in action below:

Bill Fredericks, aerospace engineer explained some of the thought behind the design, and what they’re hoping to demonstrate.

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. 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.

Greased Lightning is still very much a work in progress, but that hasn’t stopped engineers at NASA’s Langley Research Center from coming up with some ideas for future uses. Fredericks expanded on those ideas just a bit.

We have a couple of options that this concept could be good for. 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.

Imagine Amazon getting their hands on these. That could certainly increase the possibilities for drone delivery. The idea of flying around in a larger version of this aircraft is pretty awesome too.


What do you think? Would you like your own personal Greased Lightning? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook, Google+, or Twitter.

  Source: NASA
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