GL-10 the new NASA’s 10-propeller drone transitions from helicopter to plane
NASA’s researchers complete a succesful transition test with the Greased Lightening drone, which can hover like a helicopter, and fly with the efficiency and speed of an airplane.
The Greased Lighting, also called the GL-10, has eight electric motors on its wings and two electric motors on the tail. It has a 10-foot wingspan and weighs only 62 pounds.
It takes off vertically like a helicopter and it switches to “wing-borne” mode while in mid flight to fly like a conventional airplane. To land, the rotors tilt vertically again.
According to Popular Science, the drone was tested in the past for vertical takeoffs, but it wasn’t until this spring that it could manage to switch from vertical to horizontal wing orientation in mid flight.
NASA plans to use the plane in future for small package delivery, surveillance in agriculture, mapping and other functions.
A much larger version of the aircraft could also be used as a personal air vehicle for one to four people.