According tomedia reports, NASA’s all-electric X-57 may not look much different from the current small aircraft, but if it can pass the next phase of testing, then the experimental X-plane will become very special. The X-57 Maxwell is the first aircraft in the X-plane family to have an all-electric system and currently looks like its Tecnam P2006T, but its design is misleading.
In response, NASA explained that this was because they were still in the second phase of the revision. The X-57 will have a total of three configurations, and they are currently in the first iteration.
This is not to say that these changes will be minor. Conventional Rotax 912S engines, like the current P2006T, were removed and replaced by electric cruise engines mounted on the original wings – 60 kilowatts each.
The cruise engine will keep the X-57 running normally. Eventually, they will be paired with high-lift engines, 12 of which will be mounted on the leading edge of the wing. These will provide lift for take-off and landing, but during normal flight, these lifts are deactivated when the aircraft is in cruise mode. Propeller blades fold backward to reduce resistance;
Until then, however, the cruise engine must pass the current round of testing. The first is endurance and high power testing to meet the power requirements that the X-57 may face. Colin Wilson, head of the ESAero cruise engine acceptance and certification team, said: “Endurance testing involves everything from small checks to low power checks, ensuring that the motor rotates and gives us the information we need to run the full mission configuration and even beyond the task configuration when you really push the extreme temperature and power. “
At the same time, engineers for the project are preparing to modify the third phase, the next phase of the aircraft. It will use a brand new high-length-to-width ratio of wings and will see cruise engines rolled out in their final position in the extreme wingtops. Finally, there will be a modification of the fourth stage, which will have an elevated engine with fully retractable blades and will look very different from the original P2006T.
It is understood that the second fuselage of the same aircraft was also used. This allows the X-57 team to figure out the best way to install the new wing on the plane, including bending all electronic devices and deploying sensors in the best possible location. While this is a time-consuming process, X-plane executives say it should be faster to start researching now rather than waiting for the fourth stage to be ready to test the flight.
In fact, it paves the way for another big goal for the X-57, which is a road map for third-party all-electric aircraft projects. NASA’s goal is not just to build a usable electric aircraft, but to set airworthiness standards for the FAA in the future.