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Flight Performance Maneuver Planning for NASA’s X-57 “Maxwell” Flight Demonstrator – Part 1: Power-Off GlidesDistributed Electric Propulsion technology is expected to yield up to a fivefold increase in
high-speed cruise efficiency for NASA’s X-57 “Maxwell” flight demonstrator when compared
to a combustion-powered general aviation baseline. A portion of this increased efficiency is
due to beneficial aero-propulsive interaction inherent to the distributed propulsion
architecture. The measure of the relative increase in efficiency between a conventional and
distributed propulsion wing will be extracted from comparisons between flight test data from
the electrically powered X-57 Mod II configuration with a conventional wing, and from the
electrically powered X-57 Mod III/IV configuration with a distributed propulsion wing. Flight
test maneuvers that accommodate errors in instrumentation and the flight test environment
are developed to establish the power-off drag characteristics for all X-57 configurations.
Analysis of these maneuvers with typical errors, including pilot-in-the-loop simulation data
that incorporates simulated atmospheric turbulence effects, shows that the proposed power-off
flight maneuvers can generate accurate power-off drag predictions for the X-57. These
predictions show that the power-off differences in aerodynamic performance between the
conventional and distributed propulsion configurations can be accurately measured from
flight test data in the presence of typical data error sources.

Document ID
Acquisition Source
Langley Research Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Borer, Nicholas K.
(NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Cox, David E.
(NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Wallace, Ryan D.
(NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center Edwards, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
December 6, 2019
Publication Date
June 17, 2019
Subject Category
Aircraft Design, Testing And Performance
Aircraft Propulsion And Power
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: AIAA Aviation Forum and Expo
Location: Dallas, TX
Country: United States
Start Date: June 17, 2019
End Date: June 21, 2019
Sponsors: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)
Funding Number(s)
WBS: 107210.02.06.07
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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