In the world of science fiction, we have seen numerous spaceships that are not only capable of zipping around nimbly regardless of the atmosphere it is in, those ships will also be able to take off vertically, before zooming away horizontally. It looks like the real world has finally caught up with the realm of science fiction in the form of NASA’s electric vertical-takeoff airplane known as the GL-10 Greased Lightning.
Making its maiden flight, the GL-10 will hopefully be able to replace the helicopter one of these days down the road. Right now, the NASA-designed GL-10 Greased Lightning happens to be an unmanned hybrid-electric aircraft which is capable of swiveling not only its wings, but its engines as well, into the vertical position so that it can function as a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft. Thanks to the wonders of electric propulsion, it has paved the way for an efficient hybrid-electric aircraft design which might see it phase out the helicopter one of these days.
Efficiency is the key obstacle here where VTOL aircraft are concerned, and hopefully the advances made in due time from where the GL-10 left off will be able to usher in a new era in aviation.