Ten Engine Prototype

10 engine plane

Image courtesy of NASA

Ten Engine Prototype
| published May 5, 2015 |

By Keith H. Roberts Thursday Review contributor

If you think that four, maybe six, possibly even eight engines are enough for an aircraft—any aircraft—try again. How about ten?

The Langley Research Center for NASA is working on a lightweight concept plane which uses ten engines and is powered using lightweight batteries. The plane, seen in the photo, would be able to ascend vertically—taking off like a helicopter and then reorienting to fly forward like an airplane. The prototype, which has a roughly 10 foot wingspan, is a smaller version of what will eventually be a much larger airplane.

The remote controlled version recently tested by NASA is composed of eight small electric motors across the wings (four on each side) and two electric motors on the tail. The tail section and its two engines can also pivot for vertical takeoff, and can swing into position for horizontal flight. The prototype weighs a mere 62 pounds (28.1 kilograms) and has been tentatively nicknamed Greased Lightning, or GL-10.

Eventually, as testing progresses and the lightweight design is improved, and NASA will consider plans expanding the plane’s size.

Related Thursday Review articles:

Rainbow Aurora; Keith H. Roberts; Thursday Review; April 17, 2015.

Australia, Seen From Space; Thursday Review staff; Thursday Review; April 8, 2015.