Textron eAviation announced it has commenced wind tunnel testing to support the development of its versatile eVTOL aircraft, Nexus. Testing will validate the performance, stability, and control of the vehicle design to confirm preliminary configuration, range, and speed estimates, as well as how the rotors interact with the vehicle aerodynamics for all phases of flight, including VTOL, transition, and cruise.
Rob Scholl, president and CEO, Textron eAviation, says: “Starting wind tunnel testing is a major milestone for the Nexus, enabling us to calibrate our simulations and validate our design. The Nexus aircraft is designed with a focus on operating economics demanded by customers and meeting the rigorous standards of global safety regulators.
“While eVTOLs have unique configurations in terms of their layout and number of rotors, Textron eAviation is leveraging the extensive experience of programs like the Bell V22 and V280,” Scholl says. “The data and insights gained from this will tunnel testing will allow us to further refine our models and designs to design a viable, leading eVTOL aircraft.”
The Nexus wind tunnel test is being conducted on a 23 percent scale model to evaluate the rotors at the full range of conversion angles and power levels, drawing on Textron’s decades of test experience from its tilt rotor, turboprop, and jet aircraft product development. The tests also provide immediate information related to tail size, engine power requirements, transition strategies, hover net thrust and aerodynamic drag, clearing the path towards final requirements that meet certification standards.
Textron eAviation comprises the Nexus program, its eVTOL division, and Pipistrel, its Slovenian light sport aircraft manufacturer. The latest model of the Nexus eVTOL is designed to have the potential to serve a range of purposes, including for the passenger transport, cargo, and emergency medical services markets.