Tecnam has delivered a second P2006T fuselage to NASA for its X-57 Maxwell LEAPTech (Leading Edge Asynchronous Propeller Technology) research programme, which is aimed at developing safer, more energy efficient, lower operating cost and ‘greener’ GA aircraft.
The X-57 is the first NASA X-plane to feature a fully distributed electric propulsion system, which will demonstrate an increase in cruise energy efficiency as well as reductions in carbon emission and noise. The wing will house the craft’s fourteen electric motors, and will be manufactured and integrated onto the P2006T’s fuselage by US company Xperimental. NASA aims to demonstrate that distributing electric power across a number of motors integrated in this way will result in a five-times reduction in the energy required for a GA aircraft to cruise at speeds up to 175mph. It hopes to fly an initial version of the modified P2006T early next year.