Tiny Engines, Big Rewards:
A Cruise-Efficient, Short Takeoff & Landing Vehicle is Analyzed
A novel, low-noise, short takeoff and landing vehicle concept with a distributed
propulsion system was investigated to meet the growing future aviation
market. For this concept, a blended wingbody configuration was selected
for its cruise-efficient airframe with sufficient wing volume available for an
embedded wing, distributed propulsion system.
The saturation of airports and the impact to the surrounding airspace and
terrestrial communities are rapidly increasing limits to world aviation travel.
Breakthrough concepts that enable increased air traffic and performance
and decreased noise are required for growing future aviation markets. Subsonic
commercial concepts appearing on the 25-year horizon must facilitate
an increase in air traffic more than 4 times greater than current levels, while
complying with more stringent respect for the surrounding communities across
the expanding world market. Attacking these issues holistically is the concept
of a short takeoff and landing (STOL) high-speed subsonic transport, which enables
24-hr expanded use of the untapped regional airspace. The concept is a high lift-
which employs embedded wing, spanwise-distributed
to meet rigorously defined airport operation requirements while
maintaining efficient cruise capability.
The initial concept was conceived by NASA Glenn Research Center's Propulsion
System Analysis Branch, and a proposal was submitted to NASA
Headquarters' Revolutionary System Concepts for Aeronautics project. The
proposal was competed among NASA's aeronautics centers and selected
for funding. For the vehicle configuration, Boeing's Phantom Works Division
(Huntington Beach, CA) was selected to develop a conceptual aircraft. The
current vehicle concept has a 40,000 lb payload capability with a 3000 nautical
mile range at a cruise mach number of 0.8. Because of its STOL
characteristics, the vehicle will be able to take off and land within a
5000 foot field length, which captures 84 percent of all U.S. regional airports.
Diversitech, Inc. (Cincinnati, OH) investigated the benefits of
this concept for the Revolutionary System Concepts for Aeronautics Project.
To reduce the aircraft noise
well below the current requirements,
designers have employed noise shielding
using the large blended wingbody
upper surface, acoustic treatment of
inlets and nozzles, and distribution of
the thrust streams next to each other to
attenuate noise propagation.
At the end of this conceptual study, a
final report was written and presented
at NASA Langley Research Center. The report
includes a technology assessment to
determine technology gaps and identifies
relevant technology challenges and
investments for future research.
Note: Viewing files on this page may require the download and installation of an
application or a plugin.
Quicktime Movie File (41 MB)
Windows Media Video File (17 MB)
PowerPoint File (6.4 MB)
Authors and Contacts:
Hyun D. Kim, 216.433.8344,
Jeffrey J. Berton, 216.977.7031,
Scott M. Jones, 216.977.7015,
Headquarters Program Office: Aeronautics Research
Programs/Projects: Revolutionary System Concepts for Aeronautics