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eVTOL Aircraft Flight Simulation and Virtual Certification Tool

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA8649-21-P-0134
Agency Tracking Number: FX20D-TCSO1-0139
Amount: $149,946.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: AFX20D-TCSO1
Solicitation Number: X20.D
Solicitation Year: 2020
Award Year: 2021
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2020-12-11
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2021-06-10
Small Business Information
34 Lexington Avenue
Ewing, NJ 08618-2302
United States
DUNS: 096857313
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Daniel Wachspress
 (609) 538-0444
Business Contact
 Melissa Kinney
Phone: (609) 538-0444
Research Institution
 The Pennsylvania State University
 Curtis Rhymer
116 College Ave, 2nd Floor
University Park, PA 16802-4710
United States

 (814) 865-8404
 Nonprofit College or University

A major innovative thrust in urban air mobility (UAM) is underway to provide on-demand, affordable, quiet, and fast passenger-carrying operations in metropolitan areas through an Electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) capability enabled through new Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP) technology.  However, designing and building safe eVTOL aircraft presents a significant challenge.  Most notably, interactional aerodynamics (IA) has historically been a key safety of flight issue for VTOL aircraft, and no aircraft to date, commercial or military, even approaches the complexity of IA associated with the multi-prop, compound, eVTOL aircraft concepts being developed.  This is a critical, looming, safety of flight issue for eVTOL aircraft.  Continuum Dynamics, Inc., (CDI) is in a unique position to address this issue, by providing an accurate, real-time, piloted eVTOL aircraft flight simulation with high-fidelity interactional aerodynamics.  This would allow eVTOL aircraft developers to fly eVTOL aircraft in general flight conditions, wind conditions, and aircraft failure modes, within the safety of the lab, early within the design process with realistic interactional aerodynamics.  Current piloted eVTOL aircraft flight simulations cannot model interactional aerodynamics with the required fidelity because they lack real-time free wake technology.  CDI has this ability, as the only organization to have developed and implemented real-time free wakes in piloted rotorcraft flight simulations, including several NASA and Navy rotorcraft flight simulators and trainers.  The goal of the proposed effort is to leverage this prior work and bring this technology and expertise in modeling interactional aerodynamics in flight simulations to eVTOL aircraft developers.  By teaming with The Pennsylvania State University, (PSU), high-fidelity, near-real-time acoustic prediction will also be provided with the software, creating a tool capable of virtual certification of both safety and noise for new eVTOL aircraft concepts.  Prototype software demonstrating the proposed capabilities and their critical importance will be developed and presented to the USAF in Phase I.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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