DARPA CRANE – Design of Future Aircraft with Active Flow Control

Scott Lab E141
201 W. 19th Avenue Columbus, OH 43210
Columbus, OH 43210
United States

DARPA CRANE X-Plane configuration in development for flight testing Active Flow Control (AFC) technologies
DARPA CRANE X-Plane configuration in development for flight testing Active Flow Control (AFC) technologies

Speaker: Rene Woszidlo, Associate Technical Fellow at Boeing


This presentation provides an overview of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) “Control of Revolutionary Aircraft with Novel Effectors” (CRANE) Program at Aurora Flight Sciences and Boeing. The CRANE program seeks to insert Active Flow Control (AFC) into early-stage aircraft design by developing design tools and proving relevant AFC in a purpose-built X-Plane. The presentation summarizes the methodology to implement AFC into the conceptual design of various aircraft. The development of AFC tools that capture the aerodynamic benefit and associated system penalty is outlined and how these tools are integrated into the conceptual design process. Several type of missions and aircraft configurations were evaluated to assess the potential benefits of AFC. The selected aircraft uses a novel co-planar joined wing configuration consisting of a rear swept forward wing, forward swept rear wing, rear swept tip wing, and a V-tail. Each panel has a full span control surface and a full span bank of AFC nozzles at the hingeline. The 7,000 pound vehicle is designed to demonstrate the use of AFC for primary flight control up to Mach 0.7 and for enhancement of control surface performance. The presentation summarizes the design of the aircraft with all of its subsystems, with particular focus on the AFC system and its integration. For example, a 25%- scale wind tunnel model was built and tested with full fidelity of both the traditional and AFC control surfaces. Furthermore, a full-scale bench test of the AFC system was conducted. The presentation will include key results and a broad overview of all the major tests.


Rene received his M.S. and Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Arizona and earned a Diploma (“Diplom-Ingenieur”) in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Technical University of Berlin, Germany. Rene’s primary expertise includes areas of experimental and analytical aerodynamics and fluid mechanics, with particular focus on active flow control (AFC) methods and their application. He worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Technical University of Berlin from 2012 until 2014, where he continues to advise a group of Ph.D. students as an Adjunct Professor. Before joining Boeing Research and Technology in 2015, Rene was a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Aerospace Engineering Department at the University of Kansas. Rene is an AIAA Associate Fellow, a Boeing Associate Technical Fellow and a Boeing Designated Expert for flow control actuator development and flow control applications. He has led several internal and external R&D projects in collaboration with government agencies such as ONR, NASA, AFRL, and DARPA. Currently, Rene supports the DARPA CRANE program as a subject matter expert for AFC technology, and drives the development and integration of AFC models for conceptual aircraft design.

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