DESIGN & OPTIMIZATION OF AN eVTOL AIRCRAFT

IN COLLABORATION WITH BETA TECHNOLOGIES

Beta Technologies is about to revolutionize modern aviation with their fully electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft: ALIA 250. Based in Burlington (VT), Beta aims to develop a vehicle capable of flying over 250 NM on a single charge. Although suitable for numerous applications and end markets, the aircraft is currently being developed with United Therapeutics as its launch customer. Beta intends to develop a vehicle capable to deliver organs across hospitals and transplant centers as soon as 2026.

In the early phase of this program, Optis was called to collaborate with Beta Technologies to study how an eVTOL could meet the challenging mission requirements.

THE MANDATE

More specifically, Optis executed the following tasks:

  • Assess the impact of using various technologies on the electric aircraft’s performance (ex. propellers, motors, drive, batteries, etc.) across various missions:
    • Develop a multidisciplinary simulation framework capturing an eVTOL systems interactions;
    • Propagate effects of studied technologies/concepts over the entire flight;
    • Modify vehicle’s geometry and operating conditions (rotor/propeller shape, RPM, etc.) to maximize range.
  • Support the conceptual design of hover rotors:
    • Rotor outer-mold line optimization for minimal cruise drag and maximum hover performance, constrained by electric propulsion unit capability (torque & RPM);
    • Assess the flight loads on hover rotors in all phases of flight (hover, transition and forward flight);
    • Provide weight estimates based on conceptual structural layout.
  • Support conceptual design of the pusher propeller (forward flight):
    • Define propeller outer-mold lines and provide performance estimates;
    • Tradeoff between cruise efficiency and transition/takeoff thrust available;
    • Provide weight estimates based on conceptual structural layout.
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