US space agency NASA is developing what could be a new era in flight – a commercially viable electric aircraft. Electric-powered aviation has long been a technical curiosity but NASA says it is working on making the pipe dream become reality for small aircraft.
The all-electric aircraft, pictured, has been dubbed the X-57 and NASA says it’s part of efforts to make aviation more efficient and less of a polluter.
But don’t expect to see an electric jumbo crossing the skies. NASA says its technology will be incorporated into small general aviation and commuter aircraft, with the X-57 looking more like a Cessna.
The X-57’s cruising speed might reach 280km/hr with thinner than usual wings embedded with 14 motors.
In flight two 60-kilowatt electric motors at the wingtips spinning five-foot-wide propellers will carry the bulk of the load, but for takeoff and landing 12 smaller 9kW motors powering 60cm-wide propellers will kick in.