Configuration study of electric helicopters for urban air mobility

Julia A. Cole, Lauren Rajauski, Andrew Loughran, Alexander Karpowicz, Stefanie Salinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


There is currently interest in the design of small electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft to alleviate ground traffic and congestion in major urban areas. To support progress in this area, a conceptual design method for single-main-rotor and lift-augmented compound electric helicopters has been developed. The design method was used to investigate the feasible design space for electric helicopters based on varying mission profiles and technology assumptions. Within the feasible design space, it was found that a crossover boundary exists as a function of cruise distance and hover time where the most efficient configuration changes from a single-main-rotor helicopter to a lift-augmented compound helicopter. In general, for longer cruise distances and shorter hover times, the lift-augmented compound helicopter is the more efficient configuration. An additional study was conducted to investigate the potential benefits of decoupling the main rotor from the tail rotor. This study showed that decoupling the main rotor and tail rotor has the potential to reduce the total mission energy required in all cases, allowing for increases in mission distances and hover times on the order of 5% for a given battery size.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number54
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering


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