Companies, including government contractor Lockheed Martin, are seeking ways to design radically more efficient military transport aircraft to reduce fuel costs and logistical problems related to landing and takeoff.
NASA’s new GL-10 “Greased Lightning” Plane is turning heads for several reasons: 10 hybrid-electric propulsion engines, an ability to hover like a helicopter, very high propulsion efficiency and cruise optimized engines. In addition are electric wingtip “propulsion turbines” that allow low-speed takeoff and powerful thrust for climbing.
NASA’s current version is a one-man stealth plane that adds to a growing fleet of green aircraft that could revolutionize the aviation industry. The 10 hybrid-electric motors are the equivalent of the typical one motor that propels planes and use up to 70% less fuel.
Hybrid Wing Body (HWB) Airlifter Concept
NASA has been developing the “distributed propulsion” concept for hybrid wing body style planes as has Skunkworks and other research institutes in the public and private sectors.
Following is a tethered test of Greased Lightning:
References and related content:
- Electric Cargo Airplane Curriculum Module Acrobat6.pdf
- Puffin: the one-person electric aircraft (w/ Video)
- Microsoft PowerPoint – Sinnett TOS Deck.pptx