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News Picks : Experimental aircraft wing propelled by electricity

By: Physics Today
11 January 2016
New York Times: To improve the efficiency and safety of aircraft and reduce their carbon emissions, NASA has partnered with two California companies to create an electric-powered airplane wing. Made of a carbon composite, the wing has 18 electric motors, powered by lithium-ion batteries, distributed along its 9-m length. Before taking to the air, the wing is being tested on the ground by being mounted on a specially modified truck, which is driven across a dry lakebed at Edwards Air Force Base at speeds up to about 113 km/h. Although an all-electric plane may never be practical, says Sean Clarke, an engineer and principal investigator on the project, a hybrid design that would also incorporate a single jet engine to help generate electricity might one day be feasible.


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