Testing NASA’s first electric plane. This is the future of aviation [FILM].

For three years, the agency has been developing a concept for a small electric-powered aircraft that will have twice the range of traditional machines. It’s expected to be a real revolution in the world of national aviation.

Land transport is slowly becoming green, thanks to electric cars and trucks. Similar plans are already in place for maritime transportation. Meanwhile, air transport is and will continue to be far behind the rest for years to come.

This sad fact is about to change for the better, thanks to new projects that are currently being implemented in various corners of our planet. The American Space Agency (NASA) has also entered this game. Its engineers are currently working on several projects to bring some environmental freshness to the U.S. aviation industry.

Recall that the agency is developing a concept for a very quiet successor to the famous super-fast Concorde and new, more efficient engines for passenger planes. Both projects will help transport people around the world not only faster, but cheaper and with less strain on Mother Nature.

Meanwhile, NASA has just released more details about its flagship project, in which it is building the world’s first electric-powered multi-passenger aircraft. The X-57 Maxwell is a small machine based on the Italian Tecnam P2006T. It is to be the world’s first electric aircraft built from scratch with such a drive in mind. Maxwell is expected to have twice the range of traditionally powered machines and generate more than 10 times lower operating costs for its owners.

The air vehicle was recently transported to the famed Armstrong Flight Research Center, which is located on Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California. This means that it is ready to take experimental flights. This is great news, because after years of dreaming about the electric reality of aviation, now it can finally come true.

Engineers are currently testing the machine’s propulsion system. Maxwell is a VTOL vehicle. It is equipped with 14 60 kW electric motors, powered by an efficient battery pack from Electric Power Systems. During the first flight tests, it will be powered by a regular Rotax 912 engine and electric motors. Ultimately, however, it will be electric only. Interestingly, for the flight itself, the Maxwell will use only two engines, as the rest are planned for vertical takeoffs and landings.

The X-57 Maxwell is expected to allow four passengers to fly at altitudes of up to 10 kilometers and at speeds of up to 280 km/h. “Designs such as the X-57 will allow us to maintain our position as a global leader in the aircraft and aviation sector,” – says Jaiwon Shin, a member of the engineers on the X-57 project at NASA.

The agency also plans to build larger craft in the future and will even equip large passenger machines with electric engines. The 2020s are shaping up to be a revolutionary time for aviation.

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