Preliminary Sizing of a Hybrid-Electric Passenger Aircraft Featuring Over-the-Wing Distributed-Propulsion

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This study compares a hybrid-electric aircraft featuring a propulsive empennage and over-the- wing, distributed-propulsion to a conventional regional turboprop. The impact of multiple design parameters, mission requirements, and technology assumptions on maximum take-off mass and payload-range energy efficiency is evaluated, in order to illustrate the sensitivities of the design. A preliminary sizing method that incorporates aero-propulsive interaction effects is used to obtain rapid estimations. Results show that, for the baseline mission, the hybrid electric variant is 2.5% heavier and consumes 2.5% more energy than the reference aircraft. In this process, several key design guidelines and challenges for distributed-propulsion aircraft are identified. Firstly, when comparing a hybrid-electric configuration to a conventional one, each aircraft must be sized at its optimum cruise altitude for the same payload and range requirements. Secondly, the hypothetical advantages of distributed propulsion described in literature do not easily lead to a benefit at aircraft level, if the aero-propulsive interaction effects and associated dependencies are incorporated in the design process. Thirdly, the power-control parameters affect practically all characteristics of the aircraft, and the optimal control strategy is highly dependent on the aero-propulsive interaction. The results suggest that the proposed configuration can constitute a low-noise alternative for the regional transport market if the performance of the over-the-wing distributed-propulsion system is optimized.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAIAA Scitech 2019 Forum
Subtitle of host publication7-11 January 2019, San Diego, California, USA
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-62410-578-4
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventAIAA Scitech Forum, 2019 - San Diego, United States
Duration: 7 Jan 201911 Jan 2019


ConferenceAIAA Scitech Forum, 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego
Internet address

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


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