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NASA Tests Electric Aircraft: New Revolution In Aviation?

NASA Tests Electric Aircraft: New Revolution In Aviation?

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First Posted: Oct 18, 2016 06:05 AM EDT
Electric Aircraft
Image used for representation only.
(Photo : NASA via Getty Images)

Engineers from NASA Glenn Research Center are reportedly taking electric vehicles to the sky by working on the electric aircraft. The researchers are designing, developing and testing systems for revolutionizing the aviation industry with the electric aircraft.

Electric cars are not a new concept, such modes of transport are more efficient, emit less carbon and produce less noise in comparison to fuel propelled vehicles. This is precisely the reason why NASA engineers now want to introduce such technology for air travel too.

"As large airline companies compete to reduce emissions, fuel burn, noise and maintenance costs, it is expected that more of their aircraft systems will shift to using electrical power," said Dr. Rodger Dyson, technical lead from NASA Glenn Hybrid Gas Electric Propulsion. "What we are hoping to learn now is how to make it more efficient and light-weight. Next year we are going to upgrade the size of these motors - we will use the same technology to test the higher-power stuff next."

The engineers are using NASA's Electric Aircraft Testbed (NEAT), which is Plum Brook Station's newest facility, to work on the electric aircraft. The first test was carried out by NEAT in September, when the researching team of engineers used 600 volts of electricity to successfully test an electrical power system, which power a small, one or two person aircraft realistically. Once it is complete, NEAT will be a world class facility with a reconfigurable testbed where the power systems for large passenger airplanes with more than 20 Megawatts of power will be assembled and tested.

Ultimately, the new technology aims to reduce weight, increase efficiency and apply to large commercial aircrafts that will also lead to a reduction in flying costs for both travelers and the airline companies themselves.  As per reports, the engineers from NASA Glenn are looking forward to changing the airline industry and making a difference in aviation. 

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