Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2005

Capstone Advisor

Dr. Thong Dang

Honors Reader

Dr. Mark Glauser

Capstone Major

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Capstone College

Engineering and Computer Science

Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Sciences and Engineering

Subject Categories

Aerospace Engineering | Propulsion and Power


Researchers have considered the concept of a simple, compact aircraft for personal use for many years. To date, no effort has led to the development of a practical and affordable vehicle. The Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Lab atSyracuseUniversity, however, has been researching a distributed propulsion technique, called propulsive airfoil technology, that has significant promise to meet the requirements for personal ownership of a small, hybrid road and air vehicle.

The propulsive airfoil concept is rooted in HVAC technology, utilizing a cross-flow fan (CFF) embedded into the trailing edge of a thick airfoil section, drawing in air from the top surface of the airfoil. The accelerated flow is ingested into the CFF, and the energized flow is then expelled through an adjustable nozzle at the rear of the airfoil. Research to date has been primarily based on CFD simulations of the two-dimensional cross-section. The simulations have shown that the CFF has two functions. First, the CFF acts as a flow control device, delaying flow separation on the suction surface. This is possible because the fan draws air over the top surface alleviating the adverse pressure gradient. Using nozzles, the outflow can be vectored to provide thrust for the aircraft, which is the second primary function of the propulsive airfoil.

This thesis documents the design and implementation of the propulsive airfoil technology into a functional, remotely controlled prototype aircraft. The prototype design project was initiated in conjunction with the development of a wind tunnel experiment to confirm the simulation data and to demonstrate the advantages of utilizing this type of distributed propulsion system.

Studying the flight mechanics of this type of aircraft showed that incorporating this technology was feasible, based on the results of CFD simulations. Success in upcoming flight tests of the prototype aircraft will demonstrate the credibility of the concept and support the feasibility of personal ownership of small aircraft using propulsive airfoil technology.

AppendixA.doc (60 kB)
AppendixB.doc (21 kB)

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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