17–21 June 2019
Hilton Anatole, Dallas, Texas

Principles of Electric VTOL

Hilton Anatole, Dallas, Texas
16 June 2019
0800-1700 hrs

Member - Early (until 27 May) $350
Member - Standard $400
Conference Rate $450   



Electric Vertical Take Off and Landing aircraft – or eVTOL – are aircraft propelled by electric power and capable of carrying people. There has been a dramatic resurgence of interest in these aircraft, driven by advances in electric-propulsion, digital manufacturing, high-fidelity simulations, and drone technologies (mobile computing and learning-enabled cyber-physical systems). However, man-rated aircraft are more complex than drones, and require more than a concoction of scaled-up components. Maturation of eVTOL into a safe, sound, and sensible aircraft require a clear understanding of its enabling technologies and timely resolution of its principal barriers. 

Learning Objectives

The objective of this short course is to introduce these technologies and barriers. It will cover: aeromechanics of prop rotors (including coaxial and ducted rotors), advanced batteries (Li –ion and –Sulfur), hydrogen PEM fuel cells, permanent magnet machines, engine-generator hybrid drives, eVTOL performance in trim and transient flight, and eVTOL sizing. A simplified multi-rotor VTOL aircraft will be designed and analyzed in class, progressively, as an illustrative example. 

Who Should Attend

The target audience is students and professionals in the aerospace industry that would like to learn more about the fundamental concepts and barriers involved in the design of Electric Vertical Take Off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft.  The content will be presented in a simplified and practical manner aimed to engage a wide audience of mixed aerospace and non-aerospace background.   


Anubhav Datta is an Associate Professor of Aerospace Engineering at the Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center at the University of Maryland. His research is focused on advancing technologies for VTOL aircraft including eVTOL and high-speed tiltrotors. Before joining Maryland, he was at the US Army ADD at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, for nine years (2007-2016). Datta is the lead of the American Helicopter Society’s (AHS) / now Vertical Flight Society’s (VFS) Integrating Technical Team on eVTOL, member of the AHS Dynamics Committee, Associate Editor of the Journal of the AHS, member of the AIAA Structural Dynamics Technical Committee, and an Associate Fellow of AIAA. His contributions to the advancement of vertical flight has been recognized over the years by AHS (Alfred Gessow Award, Grover E. Bell Award, five Best Paper Awards in Dynamics, and the Francois Bagnoud Award for significant contributions under 35) and the US government (Technical Excellence in Publications by NASA and Group Achievement Awards from US Army and NASA).  


  • Introduction
    • Why eVTOL? Why now?
    • Automobiles vs aircraft; fixed-wing vs VTOL
    • Principal VTOL Requirements
    • Classification of electric / hybrid-electric power-train
    • Review of AHS/AIAA/GAMA/ASTM standards/regulatory activities
    • A simple missi
  • Prop rotor aeromechanics
    • Helicopter rotors vs propellers vs prop-rotors
    • Fundamentals of rotor aerodynamics
    • Performance metrics in hover, helicopter and airplane modes
    • Coaxial and shrouded (or ducted) rotors
    • Rotor dynamics with variable rotor speed
    • Blade structural loads (stresses/strains) and rotor hub loads
    • How many rotors?
    • Design and analysis of rotors for example aircraft
  • VTOL aircraft
    • Trim solution; pitch vs rotor speed control
    • eVTOL cruise performance; tip speed, torque and disk loading
    • Rotor L/De vs aircraft L/D; hub drag
    • Performance of example aircraft
    • Sizing with piston, turbo-shaft and electric power plant
    • Sample calculations for Uber-like intra and inter-city missions
  • Li-ion and Sulphur Batteries
    • Steady-state I-V characteristics
    • Effect of temperature and rate of discharge
    • ECN models for transient dynamics
    • Impedance spectroscopy; Warburg and CPE elements
    • Li Sulfur – fundamentals, advantages and limitations
    • Weights and overhead
  • PEM fuel cells
    • Steady-state I-V characteristics
    • Effect of pressure, temperature and humidity
    • ECN models for transient dynamics
    • Hydrogen storage
    • Balance of Plant
    • Weights and overhead
  • Brushless Permanent Magnet Machines for Aircraft
    • Fundamentals of PM motors
    • Types and geometries
    • Characteristics and performance
    • Design: sizing, weights and efficiencies
    • Operating modes: motor vs generator
  • Engine-generator based hybrid drives
    • Architecture
    • Layout and fundamental characteristics
    • Component vs combined efficiencies
    • Heating and noise
    • Weights
  • Putting it all Together
    • Principal considerations for configurations
    • Trim and maneuver performance of the example aircraft

Course Materials

Course notes will be made available about one week prior to the course event. You will receive an email with detailed instructions on how to access your course notes. Since these notes will not be distributed on site, AIAA and your course instructor highly recommend that you bring your computer with the course notes already downloaded. 

Course Registration


AIAA CEUs are available for this course.


Please contact  Jason Cole if you have any questions about courses and workshops at AIAA forums.


Dates to Remember

  • Manuscript Deadline: 14 May 2019
  • Early Mem Reg Deadline: 27 May 2019
  • Cancellation Deadline: 27 May 2019

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