Increasing efficiency while reducing emissions – these are the key challenges aviation faces today. A team of students from the Technical University of Munich won a competition organized by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) with an aircraft design called “eRay” which reduces fuel consumption by up to 64%.
The team from Munich achieved this enormous reduction in fuel consumption by integrating the turbo-electric drive and reducing the weight of the aircraft. The drive packages on the edge of the rear wing were particularly advantageous in the design of the aircraft. Moreover, a lightly engaged elevator unit enabled good integration of the power unit which encapsulates the tail. In order to lower the weight and thereby decrease emissions, the design does without windows, achieving a weight savings of seven percent in the hull alone.
The students also used various synergetic effects to increase efficiency. Furthermore, the team decreased the resistance by reducing the surface area of the tail unit. The design of the Munich-based team also managed to lower the gust load exerted on the aircraft.