NASA on October 2 received the first all-electric aircraft at its Armstrong Flight Research Center, Edwards, California. X-57 or X-plane is the first crewed experimental aircraft in two decades. Empircal Systems Aerospace (ESAero) of San Luis Obispo, California, delivered the first of the three configurations. It is called Modification II or Mod II.
It features electric cruise motors, a replacement to the combustion engines found on Tecnam P2006T. With the delivery, NASA scientists look to carry out further experiments for ground tests, taxi tests, and flying.
Tom Rigney, the project manager of X-57 cites this as a milestone in developing electric experimental aircrafts. He adds that the availability of aircraft opens doors for testing electric propulsion systems’ feasibility for flying. With time, the team will share learnings and feedbacks that might be critical in developing future aircrafts in the electric aircraft industry.
CEO and president of the company Andrew Gibson says that early lessons learnt during developing previous aircrafts or models have paved way for delivering this aircraft. Through this, not only NASA and ESAero, but all small companies emerging in the upcoming electric aircrafts market will benefit from the outcomes of the tests of this model. They will be able to develop suitable propulsion systems for their aircrafts with the help of NASA and ESAero as their facilities in San Luis Obispo.
Developing Certification Standards for Emerging Electric Aircrafts Market is the Goal
Developers and NASA feels that the projects goal is to develop certification standards for the emerging electric aircrafts market. They also include urban air mobility vehicles that depend on a complex electric propulsion system. Going forward, NASA plans to share the electric propulsion design that will help regulatory bodies speed up the certification process.
Further, “design driver” is the technical challenge for the X-57 team. Through this, it plans to drive learnings and best practices. Also, it includes a 500% rise in the zero in-flight carbon emissions, speed cruise efficiency, and flight. Further, experts believe that these levels are higher on the ground.