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The Emergence of Electric Flight and Urban Air Mobility

Brian J German, National Institute of Aerospace Langley Associate Professor
Friday, February 28, 2020, 3:00 pm
Aerospace Research Center Rm 100
2300 W. Case Road
Columbus, OH 43235

About the Speaker:
Brian German is the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) Langley Associate Professor in the Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering at Georgia Tech. He is also the director of Georgia Tech's Center for Urban and Regional Air Mobility (CURAM). His research involves aircraft electric propulsion, autonomous flight, and the emerging aviation markets that these technologies enable. He specializes in configuration design of electric aircraft, aerodynamics of distributed propulsion, battery and hybrid electric propulsion modeling, operations research problems for innovative scheduled and on-demand air services, and aircraft operational economics modeling. His work focuses primarily on new types of electric regional aircraft and eVTOL aircraft for urban air mobility. Prof. German is a founding member and former chair (2014-2016) of the AIAA Transformational Flight Program Committee, which was chartered to explore the opportunities of emerging aircraft electric propulsion and autonomy technologies, and he is a member of the AIAA Aircraft Electric Propulsion and Power Working Group. Prof. German is a former Fulbright student scholar and NDSEG Graduate Research Fellow, and he received the NSF CAREER award in 2012. He is an Associate Fellow of AIAA.


The era of electric flight has dawned. Battery specific energy is now reaching levels at which electric aircraft propulsion is feasible for short ranged missions, and entirely new aviation markets are blossoming by taking advantage of the reduced operating costs of electric aircraft. Electric drones are ubiquitous, electric flight training aircraft are in production, and—ushering in the era of urban air mobility—electric urban air taxis are nearing certification.

This talk will present recent research focused on the conceptual design, analysis, and operations of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for urban air mobility (UAM). Specific topics include the development of a battery model appropriate for aircraft sizing and an investigation of the flight performance of canonical eVTOL aircraft configurations. Operations research topics for UAM including demand modeling, vertiport placement optimization, and flight scheduling will also be discussed. The talk will conclude by highlighting research and educational opportunities related to electric flight and urban air mobility.

Host: Jim Gregory

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