NASA’s Greased Lightning UAV Transitions From Chopper to Airplane for the First Time!

By: | May 6th, 2015

NASA Aeronautics doesn’t get quite the same hype as anything pertaining to outer space, but their ten engine, unmanned electric plane recently successfully transitioned from hover mode to wing-borne flight and back again in mid-air.

Now, that’s impressive!

Going from electric drone, to chopper, to airplane and back is no easy task, but Greased Lightning (GL-10) made transitioning from vertical to forward flight without falling out of the sky look like a piece of cake last week.

The drone, which features a ten-foot wingspan, with eight electric motors along its wings and two on its tail, hovers like a helicopter for take-off and landing, then switches to airplane mode by tilting its wings forward in midair.

Below, you can watch Greased Lightning’s first successful transition from chopper to airplane, a capability that could provide applications in package delivery as well as surveillance/mapping programs.

Marshall Smith

Technology, engineering, and design enthusiast.

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