An Efficient and Robust Sizing Method for eVTOL Aircraft Configurations in Conceptual Design

Ugwueze, Osita, Statheros, Thomas, Horri, Nadjim, Bromfield, Michael A. and Simo, Jules orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-1489-5920 (2023) An Efficient and Robust Sizing Method for eVTOL Aircraft Configurations in Conceptual Design. Aerospace, 10 (3).

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This paper presents the development of a robust sizing method to efficiently estimate and compare key performance parameters in the conceptual design stage for the two main classes of fully electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, the powered lift and wingless aircraft types. The paper investigates hybrids of classical root-finding methods: the bisection, fixed-point and Newton-Rapson methods for use in eVTOL aircraft sizing. The improved convergence efficiency of the hybrid methods is at least 70% faster than the standard methods. This improved efficiency is significant for complex sizing problems. The developed sizing method is used to investigate the comparative performance of the wingless and powered lift eVTOL aircraft types for varying mission lengths. For a generic air taxi mission with a payload of 400 kg, the powered lift type demonstrates its mass efficiency when sized for missions above 10 km in range. However, the simpler architecture of the wingless eVTOL aircraft type makes it preferable for missions below 10 km in range when considering energy efficiency. The results of the sizing study were compared against a selection of eVTOL aircraft data. The results showed a good agreement between the estimated aircraft mass using the proposed sizing method and published eVTOL aircraft data.

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