Design of Electrified Propulsion Aircraft

In This Section

In this course, participants learn about current developments in electrified propulsion, with an emphasis on hybrid electric aircraft. Participants will learn how to design electrified propulsion aircraft starting from the top-level aircraft requirements. Design examples will include electric and hybrid-electric aircraft of various sizes and missions. Various powertrains will be examined including pure electric, parallel hybrid, serial hybrid, and combinations. It will be demonstrated which design variables are unique to electric and hybrid electric aircraft and how the sizing and performance process of the powertrain components can be executed. Historical and recent electric and hybrid electric aircraft system studies will be reviewed, and standard reporting parameters will be recommended.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify types of electric and hybrid aircraft and current projects
  • Perform the preliminary sizing process of an electric or hybrid electric aircraft based on top-level aircraft requirements
  • Perform off-design mission performance analysis of sized hybrid electric aircraft, with appropriate considerations of reserve requirements and battery life and safety margins
  • Understand electrified propulsion drivetrain component fundamental design and performance parameters
  • Develop drivetrain system models and predict system weight and performance 
  • Perform trade studies on the powertrain design variables to achieve a predefined design goal
  • Include aero-propulsive interaction effects into the preliminary sizing process by using results from experimental or numerical simulations
  • Review the results of historical and recent electric and hybrid electric aircraft system studies and learn standard reporting parameters

Who Should Attend  

This course intended for engineers with a background in aerospace engineering that are interested in learning about the unique design considerations for electric and hybrid electric aircraft.

AIAA CEUs are available for this course.


Please contact Jason Cole if you have any questions about courses and workshops at AIAA forums.

  1. Introduction 
    •  Summary of recent aircraft projects, Thin Haul, Commuter, Regional, and Airliners, On Demand Mobility & Air Taxi
    • Propulsion Integration Considerations
      • Taxonomy of Propulsion and Power architectures, Component performance requirements to enable different types of aircraft
      • Propulsion efficiency chains & examples
      • Aero-propulsive interaction, Distributed Propulsion, Wing Interactions
    • Electric Aircraft Conceptual Sizing
      • Range equation customized for electric aircraft
      • Range and weight sensitivities to battery technologies
      • Future battery chemistries and performance potentials
      • Simplified battery modeling including state of charge, depth of discharge, battery life, degradation, power C-rate, and reserves
  2. Hybrid Electric Aircraft Design Process 
    •  Aircraft design process: from conceptual to detailed design
    • Design requirements including airworthiness regulations
    • Lift and drag decomposition including propulsive effects
    • Derivation of the equilibrium equations
    • Constructing the performance constraints diagram
    • Hybrid-electric powertrain modelling (with link to previous bullet)
    • Component sizing conditions: one-engine inoperative condition
    • Sizing batteries and fuel tank for total energy requirements
    • Demonstration of sizing process through examples of a hybrid-electric, distributed propulsion aircraft.
  3. Propulsion Components and Modeling 
    •  Review of the electric and hybrid electric drivetrain and components
    • Simple reduced order modeling
    • Component characterization (sizing and performance)
      • Prime movers - gas turbines and other IC machines
      • Prime movers – batteries and fuel cells
      • Electric drivetrain components – generators, rectifiers, inverters, power distribution, motors
      • Mechanical conversion – shafts and gearboxes
      • Propulsors – ducted fans and propellers
    • Thermal management system design and performance
      • Heat acquisition – component cooling technologies and approaches; heat pumping systems
      • Heat transport – pumps, fans, ducts and pipes
      • Heat rejection - heat exchangers, phase change materials, skin coolers
    • Full system model examples and exercises
  4. Performance Assessment of Hybrid Electric Aircraft 
    •  Assessment Process: Introduction and steps in the process
    • Baselining: Projecting the baseline forward, defining EIS and technology level (TRL considerations), defining propulsion technologies
    • Defining the EP concept: Schematics/Representations, EP architecture conceptualization and review of basic trades, morphological matrices, defining a CONOPS – Examples, electric technology infusion
    • Propulsion system modeling and representation: Schematics, review of components, Standard performance parameters and definitions, units, nomenclature, etc.
    • Vehicle modeling and representation: Standard parameters to declare, Mission(s): Flight segments, Power management, Guidelines for presentation of results
    • Calculating metrics: Energy specific air range, Fuel burn, Energy, ICAO CO2, Life-cycle CO2, TOFL, energy, DOC, NOx, etc.
    • Example Assessment Results
  5. Hybrid Electric Mission Performance Study Examples & Wrap Up 
    •  Summary of selected historical and recent system studies
    • Current challenges and future research and technology needs

Dr. Marty Bradley is an AIAA Fellow and a Technical Fellow for The Boeing Company, working in the Boeing Commercial Airplanes Advanced Concepts Group in Long Beach, California. He is the technology leader for a variety of projects related to electric and hybrid electric aircraft. Marty has 34-years of experience in vehicle design, propulsion integration, and technology studies for a wide variety of commercial and military aerospace applications. Marty was the Principal Investigator for the NASA funded SUGAR study looking at advanced technologies for future commercial aircraft, including the hybrid electric SUGAR Volt, and contributed to the National Academies report on Low Carbon Aviation. He is the Leader of the AIAA Aircraft Electric Propulsion and Power Working Group. He previously was Chair of the AIAA Green Engineering Program Committee and the High-Speed Airbreathing Propulsion Technical Committee. Marty has a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering, all from the University of Southern California and teaches their aircraft design capstone course.

Dr. Roelof Vos is an Assistant Professor at the Aerospace Engineering Faculty of Delft University of Technology. He holds a BSc degree in Aerospace Engineering from Delft University of Technology which he received in 2004. He earned an MSc degree from that same university which he received with honors in 2005. Sponsored by a VSBfonds scholarship, he subsequently worked for 6 months as a post-graduate researcher at The University of Manchester. In 2006 Vos received a Fulbright Scholarship to pursue a PhD degree at The University of Kansas. His research was acknowledged with the AIAA Abe Zarem Award in 2008. Vos obtained his PhD degree in 2009. Since then, Vos has been working as Assistant Professor at the Aerospace Engineering Faculty of Delft University of Technology. He teaches courses on aircraft design, aerodynamic design of transport aircraft, and aerodynamic design of combat aircraft. His research focuses on the development of aircraft analysis methodologies for the conceptual design phase, the design of new aircraft configurations, and the assessment of emerging aviation technologies. He is author of the textbook "Introduction to Transonic Aerodynamics." Furthermore, he has published 12 articles in peer-reviewed journals and over 30 conference papers. He has worked on various projects funded by the European Commission. He is an Associate Fellow of AIAA and a member of the AIAA Aircraft Design Technical committee.

Mr. Charles Lents, Associate Director at the United Technologies Research Center, has thirty years of experience in the conceptual design of integrated aircraft primary and secondary power and thermal management systems.  At UTRC, Chuck led a team in the development of an integrated modeling environment for the study of integrated total aircraft power systems and their impact on air vehicle performance.  He has led several studies investigating power and thermal management solutions for a range of commercial and military vehicles, and is the project lead for UTRC’s Innovative Propulsion project, studying and developing high altitude and alternative small engine propulsion systems. . He currently leads UTRCs NASA funded Parallel Hybrid Propulsion System Technology Development program. He has experience in a diverse set of technical areas, including thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, turbo-machinery, heat transfer, power electronics cooling, systems integration and aircraft secondary power systems, reliability, risk/uncertainty analysis and life-cycle cost modeling. Chuck received his B.S.M.E from the University of Illinois in 1982 and his M.S.M.E. from Purdue University in 1984.

Dr. Jonathan Gladin is a research engineer at the Aerospace Systems Design Lab at Georgia Tech where he performs research in the area of propulsion for aircraft applications, specifically for hybrid electric propulsion systems and also in the areas of propulsion/airframe integration.  He has contributed to four different NASA sponsored NRA’s in the area of hybrid electric propulsion and has many technical publications in that area.  He is the lead developer of Georgia Tech’s hybrid electric modeling environment, GT-HEAT, and is actively involved in teaching students the fundamentals of hybrid electric aircraft for research applications.  He also has technical experience in the areas of boundary layer ingestion systems, aircraft sub-systems, and thermal management. He received his undergraduate degree in Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2006 and worked as a structural analyst for Sikorsky Helicopters for three years on the Black Hawk program before returning to Georgia Tech to pursue his graduate studies in 2009. He received his Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering in 2011 and Ph.D. in 2015.