A Better Motor Is the First Step Towards Electric Planes

In a white and grey laboratory, where neat runs of orange cables on the walls provide a relief of color, a three-bladed propeller spins on the front of a Cessna “Iron Bird” test frame. It’s eerily quiet, free of the buzz you expect from a propeller-propelled aircraft. Just the whoosh of air, like a ceiling fan spinning at full speed. It’s slow at first, then faster, to the point that the blades blur out of vision, and only the bright chrome center cone is visible, as engineers at the Magnix Systems Integration Laboratory on Australia’s Gold Coast push the rig, before powering it down to a silent stop.

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