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Center Independent Research & Development: LaRC IRAD

Semi-Tandem Electric Distributed Wing Zip Aviation Advanced Concept

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

This project aims to develop a unique distributed electric propulsion approach that provides breakthrough capability improvements across conventional take-off and landing, short takeoff and landing, and vertical takeoff and landing aircraft through tight coupling of the propulsion, aerodynamics, control, structure, and acoustics.

Electric Propulsion (EP) is a rapidly developing technology frontier that opens up the degrees of freedom for aircraft design/integration.  Inherently EP wants to distribute across the airframe due to it's scale-free nature, this lets the thrust be located for optimal drag. Electric motors are highly compact and reliable. The efficiency and power to weight of electric motors/controllers are relatively insensitive to scale (not true for internal combusion or Turbine engines). Distributed EP permits high degrees of coupling between the aerodynamics, propulsion, control, acoustics, and even the structure to enable large multi-disciplinary synergistic benefits. 

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Anticipated Benefits

Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

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Project Duration

Technology Maturity (TRL)

Technology Areas

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