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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Modular Electric Propulsion Test Bed Aircraft

Completed Technology Project
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Project Description

Modular Electric Propulsion Test Bed Aircraft
An all electric aircraft test bed is proposed to provide a dedicated development environment for the rigorous study and advancement of electrically powered aircraft. The new test bed aircraft will be developed from an existing conventional airframe and provide a dedicated platform to study, design, and test electrically powered propulsion systems for use in commercial, military, and general aviation vehicles and UAV systems. The test bed aircraft will allow various electrical propulsion system technologies to be tested to determine performance, reliability, safety, and cost. These include various motors, motor controllers, batteries, fuel cells, super capacitors, and propeller technologies. Additionally, the platform could be used to investigate performance characteristics unique to electric propulsion, determine the most accurate methods for measuring energy used and remaining, research redundancy possibilities unique to electric aircraft, and possible hybrid-electric power plant systems. An electric aircraft has several significant advantages over a conventional internal combustion driven aircraft. These include zero, or near zero emissions, increased reliability and safety with only one moving part, reduced noise and vibration, increased comfort, and reduced maintenance. RHRC and the University of Illinois propose to develop an all electric test bed aircraft able to systematically evaluate new and existing technologies, which will make these systems, safe, reliable, and cost effective. More »

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