Preliminary Propulsion and Power System Design of a Tandem-Wing Long-Range eVTOL Aircraft

J. Alba Maestre, K. Prud'homme van Reine, T. Sinnige, Saullo G.P. Castro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
249 Downloads (Pure)


Novel eVTOL aircraft configurations are picking up momentum in the emerging market of urban air mobility (UAM). These configurations feature electrical power systems and distributed propulsion architectures, both uncommon in current aircraft. As such, the design of eVTOL aircraft lies outside the bounds of current established frameworks and poses many challenges in the field of preliminary aircraft design. This paper presents a preliminary design methodology for open rotor eVTOL configurations with batteries as the power source. First, the propeller external dimensions are calculated, and then an optimised blade geometry for cruise condition is computed. Thereupon, the batteries and electric motors are sized. The design framework is then applied to an eVTOL aircraft with a design range of 400 km and a capacity of five occupants (four passengers and one pilot), focusing on the central-European market and aimed to be released in 2030. The final configuration is a battery-powered tandem-wing aircraft with 12 variable-pitch, variable-speed open rotors placed on the leading edges of the wings. These rotors rotate outboard-down and feature six blades. The power source comprises 24 solid-state lithium batteries with a nominal voltage of 500 V and an assumed energy density of 500 Wh/kg. The proposed design methodology offers the possibility of computing the necessary propeller geometry for numerical simulations in the early stages of the design, and of easily obtaining accurate estimates for the mass of the power system which can improve the overall mass estimates for the analysed configuration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11083
Number of pages23
JournalApplied Sciences
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • eVTOL
  • distributed electric propulsion
  • battery
  • preliminary design
  • urban air mobility
  • tandem wing
  • Preliminary design
  • Battery
  • Tandem wing
  • Urban air mobility
  • Distributed electric propulsion


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