NASA has made some expansive claims about the high efficiency, low noise and emissions and overall transformative potential of electric aircraft propulsion. Now its engineers are being given the chance to show whether those claims are supportable. The research agency has approved a three-year, $15 million project to fly a distributed electric propulsion (DEP) X-plane. The demonstrator will be based on a light general-aviation aircraft but, if the technology proves out, NASA has aggressive ...

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