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Research Aircraft for eVTOL Enabling techNologies

An enduring, open-source flight research capability


NASA is collaborating with Georgia Tech to design, build and fly a ~1000 lb. unmanned research aircraft for Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) at modest cost and in a relevant timeline. This aircraft will enable researchers and industry partners to obtain and publish unique flight test data at a relevant scale, provide a platform to develop practical methods for AAM vehicle design and operation, and train the next generation of aerospace engineers.


  • Provides open flight data that is publicly available to accelerate the emerging AAM market
  • Addresses “real world” issues in EVTOL design and development for AAM through relevant scale 
  • Allows larger research payloads (e.g., avionics, sensors, flight computers) through adequate size
  • Presents configuration representative of industry eVTOLs, with relevant challenges in aerodynamics, propulsion integration, acoustics, and flight control
  • Offers “fast to flight” at modest cost by leveraging off-the-shelf airframe and components
  • Serves as more than just a flight demonstrator: a “flying laboratory” for enduring research and technology development

NASA engineers and technicians are contributing to the development of noise and safety standards for advanced air mobility aircraft, but the agency is having to do this work with limited knowledge about the coming designs, given how closely companies are guarding their innovations in this fiercely competitive market. 

Aerospace America


Efficient Variable-Pitch Propeller Aerodynamic Model Development for Vectored-Thrust eVTOL Aircraft
Simmons, B. M.
AIAA Aviation Forum, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 27 Jun – 1 Jul 2022, Chicago, IL & Virtual

Rapid Flight Control Law Deployment and Testing Framework for Subscale VTOL Aircraft
Asper, G. D. and Simmons, B. M.
NASA Technical Memorandum 20220011570, 01 Sep 2022, NASA Langley Research Center

Status of UAM Proprotor Design Validation Campaign: Available Data and Computational Tools
Lopes, L. V., Ingraham, D. J., and Zawodny, N. S.
NASA Acoustics Technical Working Group, 05 Oct 2022, NASA Glenn Research Center

Design and Development of an Aircraft Electric Powertrain Test Stand
Jha, A., Puligundla, V., Paravano, J., and German, B.
AIAA SciTech Forum, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 23-27 Jan 2023, National Harbor, MD & Online


Influence of the Perception, Observer Position, and Broadband Self Noise on Low-Fidelity UAM Vehicle Perception-Influenced-Design (PID) Optimization
Lopes, L. and Ingraham, D.
VFS Forum 79, Vertical Flight Society, 16-18 May 2023, West Palm Beach, FL
To be published

Design and Programmatic Overview of the Research Aircraft for eVTOL Enabling techNologies (RAVEN) Activity
German, B. J., Jha, A., Whiteside, S. K. S., Welstead, J. R., and Blaesser, N. B.
AIAA Aviation 2023, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 12-16 June 2023, San Diego, CA
To be published

Rapid Aero-Propulsive Modeling for Distributed Propulsion Aircraft Using a Mid-Fidelity Flow Solver
Simmons, B. M., Ahuja, V., and Geuther, S. C.
AIAA Aviation Forum, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 12-16 June 2023, San Diego, CA and online
To be published

Preliminary Aero-Propulsive Models for the RAVEN SWFT eVTOL Aircraft
Simmons, B. M., et al.
NASA Technical Memorandum, 2023, NASA Langley Research Center
In preparation


This work is supported by:

For partnership opportunities or questions, please reach out to:

Siena Whiteside,