Agency engineers began developing the aircraft in 2015. It was created on the basis of the Tecnam P2006T twin-engine propeller aircraft, which has undergone many modifications: in particular, the Rotax 912S3 twin-cylinder piston engines were replaced with 12 electric pistons, engine nacelles with separate propellers, as well as two large wing propellers.
The X-57 will be equipped with lithium-ion batteries to power the engines. NASA decided to use a small propeller plane for this project because the engineers felt that its aerodynamics were more favorable for an electric plane.
The aircraft can increase flight efficiency by 500% compared with existing devices of this type when flying at high speed, while not creating emissions and significantly reducing the amount of noise, the agency said.
Presented by NASA model refers to the fifth, final modification of the X-57. In it, the apparatus received a wing with a high aspect ratio and propellers with a diameter of 1.5 m, which will allow to restore energy from the wingtip vortices.