Electric Aviation - NASA interview on Maxwell X57 - Part 4: Electric Flight Experience

 

Electric Aviation - NASA interview on Maxwell X57 - Part 4: Electric Flight Experience

For more information, visit https://www.airshaper.com or email info@airshaper.com ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- In this fourth part of our video interview series with NASA on the X-57 Maxwell Electric Aircraft, we discuss what it will be like to fly this electric aircraft. The high lift propellers provide extra lift for the wing, but they also produce forward thrust. This can feel a bit strange and therefore multiple control modes have been introduced. One of them is called Air Speed Sending: as the aircraft speeds up, the high lift propellers provide more thrust and lift for take-off. Once the velocity is high enough for the wing to produce enough lift on its own, the torque on the high lift propellers is reduced again. Finally, they are shut down and folded back all together when the airplane is in cruise mode. The other way around, as the aircraft is preparing for landing, they are first switched on at a low torque & rpm, just to know they are there. As the airplane slows down on the approach corridor, the torque is increased and more lift and thrust are generated. This increased lift helps to limit the sink rate and the extra thrust can help offset the increased drag as the airplane slows down to regions within the backside of the power curve. In terms of scaling, the batteries don't scale so well. So this technology, using batteries, could be interesting for 10-19 seaters for example. Beyond that, the energy storage can become a problem. But the electric propulsion itself does scale well, as you can simply put more high lift propellers on a larger wing, on top of increasing their size, combined with a hybrid powertrain. You would then not have the energy efficiency benefits of the battery, but the aerodynamic benefits of the electric propulsion are still there.

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