Wigeon (concept design)
Delft University of Technology
Delft, The Netherlands
Founded in 1842, Delft University of Technology (Dutch: Technische Universiteit Delft), also known as TU Delft, is the oldest and largest Dutch public technical university, located in Delft, Netherlands. Due to the emerging electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) and hybrid-electric VTOL industry, professors at the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at Delft University named Javier Alba-Maestre, Koen Prud’homme van Reine, Tomas Sinnige and Saullo G. P. Castro researched and wrote an abstract on novel eVTOL passenger aircraft for advanced aerial mobility (AAM) for Europe. The academic editor for the abstract was Ho Yon Hwang.
The Wigeon is a novel eVTOL tandem wing long-range eVTOL passenger concept design aircraft that holds one pilot and four passengers. The estimated range of the eVTOL aircraft is 400 km (249 m). On close inspection of the aircraft's graphic, the cabin height is higher than conventional aircraft providing more room inside for the passengers during flight.
The aircraft has a total of 12 propellers and 12 electric motors which power the aircraft. For VTOL flight the tandem wings rotate and apparently can rotate independently of each other providing precise flight movement in calm or gusty winds. On the front edge of each wing are three propellers. The electric motors are housed inside the wing. The front wings are positioned at the bottom of the fuselage which have downward facing winglets. The rear wing is positioned at the top of the fuselage and have upward facing winglets. The tail of the aircraft is one vertical stabilizer.
The 23 page abstract has a detailed analysis of many of the aircraft's systems and the eVTOL aircraft's aerodynamic capability. For example, efficient propellers will be needed to provide enough thrust during all phases of flight which include:
- Vertical take-off
- Transition from hover to climb
- Climb to cruising altitude
- Loiter in horizontal flight
- Transition to hover
- Loiter in hover
The abstract includes the propulsion system, propellers (the size, the type and the number of propellers), noise analysis, battery configuration and battery characteristics.
What was not included in the abstract:
- The estimated cruise speed, flight time and cruise altitude
- The empty weight of the aircraft, maximum payload and the maximum takeoff weight
- The materials which would be used for the fuselage (such as carbon fiber composite)
- The windows and the doors of the aircraft
- The type of landing gear to be used
Concerning the landing gear, as this is a long range eVTOL passenger aircraft and based on the size of the aircraft, the aircraft would most likely have retractable tricycle wheeled landing gear.
The expected use for the aircraft is passenger flights between major cities within Europe. The target market for the the production of this aircraft is 2030. The estimated European market share for this eVTOL aircraft is 8% by 2035.
- Aircraft type: eVTOL long-range passenger aircraft
- Piloting: 1 pilot
- Capacity: 4 passengers
- Cruise speed: Unknown
- Range: 400 km (249 m)
- Flight time: Unknown
- Cruise altitude: Unknown
- Empty weight: Unknown
- Maximum payload: Unknown
- Maximum takeoff weight: Unknown
- Propellers: 12 propellers
- Electric motors: 12 electric motors
- Power source: 24 solid-state lithium battery packs
- Fuselage: Unknown (possibly carbon fiber composite)
- Windows: Panoramic wrap around windows allowing forward, left, right visibility, for spectacular views with a solid roof above the passenger compartment
- Wings: Tandem wings with winglets, the front wings have downward facing winglets and the rear wings have upward facing winglets
- Tail: 1 vertical stabilizer
- Landing gear: Unknown (most likely retractable tricycle wheeled landing gear)
- Safety features: Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP), provides safety through redundancy for its passengers and/or cargo. DEP means having multiple propellers (or ducted fans) and motors on the aircraft so if one or more propellers (ducted fans) or motors fail, the other working propellers (or ducted fans) and motors can safely land the aircraft. There are also redundancies in the sub-systems of the aircraft. The aircraft can also glide and land like a conventional airplane on a runway or road, in an emergency.