Aeroelastic Behaviour of Flexible Wings Carrying Distributed Electric Propulsion Systems
An accurate aeroelastic assessment of powered HALE aircraft is of paramount importance considering that their behaviour contrasts the one of conventional aircraft mainly due to the use of high aspect-ratio wings with distributed propulsion systems. This particular configuration shows strong dependency of the wing natural frequencies to the propulsion distribution and operating conditions. Numerical and experimental investigations are carried out to better understand the behaviour of flexible wings, focusing on the effect of distributed electric propulsion systems. Several configurations are investigated, including a single propulsion system using an engine pod (a weight with embedded electric motor, a propeller, and the wing-attached structure) installed at selected spanwise positions, and configurations with two and three propellers.