Aerodynamic Performance of Wingtip-Mounted Propellers in Tractor and Pusher Configuration

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientific

4 Citations (Scopus)
324 Downloads (Pure)


Wingtip-mounted propellers are a promising solution for advanced propulsion integration on future (hybrid-)electric aircraft. Previous work has confirmed the favorable aerodynamic interactions between the propeller and the wing that occur for wingtip-mounted propellers in both tractor and pusher configuration. However, a direct comparison of the performance effects for the tractor and pusher configurations is unavailable in open literature. Moreover, the separate contributions of the propeller and wing forces to the overall system performance have not been sufficiently separated in previous studies. This paper presents the results of a wind-tunnel experiment performed at Delft University of Technology with a modular propeller-wing setup that addressed these knowledge gaps. A powered propeller model with a nacelle was installed at the tip of a cambered wing model. The nacelle could be reversed in order to change from tractor to pusher configuration. Measurements with an external balance quantified the system loading, while an internal balance provided a separate measurement of the propeller loading. The results highlight the differences between the interaction mechanisms for the tractor and pusher configurations. An assessment of the system performance showed that the pusher configuration required the lowest propeller shaft power to achieve a given system lift coefficient and net force coefficient in the flight direction. Power reductions of up to 9% were achieved compared to the tractor configuration for lift coefficients between 0.0 and 1.0 and net axial force coefficients between 0.00 (force balance in flight direction) and +0.08 (net positive force in flight direction).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAIAA Aviation 2021 Forum
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc. (AIAA)
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic) 978-1-62410-610-1
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventAIAA Aviation 2021 Forum - Virtual Event
Duration: 2 Aug 20216 Aug 2021

Publication series

NameAIAA Aviation 2021 Forum


ConferenceAIAA Aviation 2021 Forum

Bibliographical note

Correction: Aerodynamic Performance of Wingtip-Mounted Propellers in Tractor and Pusher Configuration
Authors Name: Tomas Sinnige(1); Robert Nederlof(1); Nando van Arnhem(1)
Authors Affiliations: 1. Delft University of Technology, Delft, Netherlands.
Correction Notice
The subcaptions of Fig. 4 are the wrong way around. Figure 4a depicts the pusher configuration, while Fig. 4b depicts the tractor configuration.


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