Schlagwort-Archive: electric plane

NASA gets closer to crewed flight tests for its all-electric X-57 Maxwell

NASA is edging nearer to its first flight test for its all-electric experimental “X-plane” X-57 Maxwell after completing ground tests on the aircraft, a blog post from the space agency reveals. The space agency’s series of X-planes also includes its X-59 QueSST “quiet” supersonic jet and its hypersonic X-43A scramjet.

The X-57 has made “substantial contributions” to electric aircraft propulsion
The X-57 program began in 2016 as part of NASA’s Scalable Convergent Electric Propulsion Technology Operations Research Project (SCEPTOR). NASA set out to build a low-emissions aircraft using electric propulsion to test whether such a machine would be viable for commercial transport. The space agency started off by converting an Italian Tecnam P2006T into an electric aircraft, the “Maxwell”, by adding two electric motors made by Joby Aviation in place of the original Rotax engines. “The X-57 project has made substantial contributions to the field of electric aircraft propulsion as an initial pathfinder building a knowledge base of expertise that is influencing industry standards and contributing to future electric vehicle demonstrations,” said Heather Maliska, X-57 project manager at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California. The all-electric aircraft has now completed its ground tests meaning it is closer to liftoff. Back in October 2021, NASA announced it would conduct its first crewed flight this year following its ground tests.

Will the X-57 Maxwell prove the viability of electric flight?
The X-57 was designed to have zero in-flight emissions. The aircraft uses a unique high aspect ratio wing design to make it as efficient as possible for electrified flight. However, doubts remain as to whether the results of X-57’s flight tests will lead to commercial flight, or simply help to invigorate the pursuit of other means such as hydrogen aircraft. According to NASA, the X-57 will have a range of about 100 miles and a cruise speed of 172 mph (276 km/h), meaning it will be able to fly for roughly 40 minutes at a time. Though electric cars are set to replace internal combustion engine vehicles in the coming decades, the power required for an aircraft to take off as well as the weight of the large batteries required for aviation means other alternatives are likely required for long-haul airliners. Airbus, for example, is testing a hydrogen engine as well as drop-in fuels on its Airbus A380 model. Nevertheless, NASA aims to push the technology it is built for the X-57 to the limits, and it will also build a hybrid version once the all-electric model has safely taken to the skies. Source: ‘interestingenigneering.com‘.

Rolls-Royce’s Spirit of Innovation electric plane ‘smashes’ world record

The aerospace giant has carried out three flight runs at an MoD site in Boscombe Down in Wiltshire. Rolls-Royce’s battery-powered plane has “smashed” the fastest all-electric flight world record, the aerospace giant has announced. The ‘Spirit of Innovation’ aircraft took off from the Ministry of Defence’s Boscombe Down site in Wiltshire and reached a top speed of 345.4mph over three kilometres, breaking the existing record by 132mph.

Rolls-Royce has submitted the data to the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) – the World Air Sports Federation which controls and certifies world aeronautical and astronautical records – for approval. In further runs at the experimental aircraft testing site, the plane reached 330mph over 15 kilometres – 182mph faster than the previous record – and broke the fastest time to climb to 3,000 metres by 60 seconds with a time of 202 seconds, Rolls-Royce said. During the flight runs, the aircraft clocked up a top speed of 387.4mph. The plane was flown over three kilometres by the project’s chief test pilot Phill O’Dell, who was in the Royal Air Force for 17 years. Steve Jones flew the aircraft for the 15km and the time to climb to 3,000 metres record runs that have been submitted. Mr O’Dell said: “Flying the ‘Spirit of Innovation’ at these incredible speeds and believing we have broken the world record for all-electric flight is a momentous occasion.

“This is the highlight of my career and is an incredible achievement for the whole team. The opportunity to be at the forefront of another pioneering chapter of Rolls-Royce’s story as we look to deliver the future of aviation is what dreams are made of.” The plane was powered by a 400kW (500 hp) electric powertrain with the most power-dense battery pack ever assembled for an aircraft, Rolls-Royce said. The technology for the plane was developed at Gloucestershire Airport by the ACCEL – or Accelerating the Electrification of Flight – programme, before moving to Wiltshire for the flight testing phase. Partners include Oxford-based electric motor and controller manufacturer YASA and aviation start-up Electroflight in Gloucestershire. Source: ‘BusinessLive’.