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#White Papers


GL-10: Part Plane, Helicopter, Drone Could be the Future of Aviation

NASA engineers at the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, were recently testing a new kind of flying device: the GL-10 Greased Lightning. As per usual, the American government agency is trying to reach new heights in technology and this time they have decided to focus on electric propulsion and an unmanned aerial device. But they have chosen to make new things using old ideas!

Indeed, a quick look at the GL-10 and we can see its conception isn’t particularly groundbreaking. It is basically a perfect mix between a helicopter, a plane and a drone. And yet, this could very well be the future of aviation: this device has a 10-foot wingspan, it can hover like a helicopter and fly like a plane.

The GL-10 just passed its first test. It successfully flew while tethered and free-flights tests are scheduled for the end of 2014. This success has reinforced NASA’s interest in the potential of electric propulsion and we will no doubt hear more about it in the near future.

GL-10 Greased Lightning Tether Test


  • 8 Lindbergh Way, Hampton, VA, United States
  • NASA