Will electric planes take off?

NASA's aerial system GL-10 Greased Lightning
NASA Langley/David C. Bowman

Engineers at NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia are testing an aircraft with 10 electric motors on tilt wings that can hover like a helicopter and fly like a plane

NASA released this picture of the GL-10 Greased Lightning to mark National Aviation Day. The unmanned plane has a three-metre wingspan. The aircraft was tethered during the flight shown here, but free-flight tests are planned later this year.

The Greased Lightning is part of NASA's program to make efficient hybrid-electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing aircraft. Below is an illustration of the internal layout of the plane, which is one of four concept aircraft being developed by the agency. You can download a PDF explaining the research here.

  1. http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20140001088.pdf
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