Date of Thesis

Spring 2020


Urban Air Mobility (UAM) is an area of research that focuses on the development of aircraft designs and required infrastructure to enable safe and efficient air transportation within urban settings. The objective of this research is to build upon previous work to develop an improved component-based approach to rotorcraft design for UAM applications. The phrase "component-based" in this context refers to the ability to include or exchange both internal components (as in the case of a mechanical drivetrain being replaced with a motor and inverter) and external components (as in the addition of a wing or auxiliary propulsion system) within the rotorcraft design process. To accomplish this objective, a computational model for the wing component of a lift-augmented compound helicopter was improved, and existing propulsion system models were adapted to accurately account for power requirements and size components based on current and future technology projections. Two studies were conducted with the resulting model. The first investigated the potential benefits of replacing the mechanical drivetrain used to power the tail rotor with an additional motor and inverter, thus decoupling the main rotor and tail rotor. Decoupling in this way was found to improve the energy efficiency of vehicles regardless of configuration due to weight savings in the drive shaft and gear boxes. The second study investigated the design space in terms of mission parameters such as range and hover time with the updated computational models. With the improved models, the design space was greatly expanded for projected future technologies.


electric vehicle, helicopter, urban air mobility, conceptual design, component based

Access Type

Honors Thesis (Bucknell Access Only)

Degree Type

Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering

Minor, Emphasis, or Concentration


First Advisor

Julia A. Cole

Second Advisor

Craig Beal