NASA STTR 2020-II Solicitation

Proposal Summary

Proposal Information

Proposal Number:
20-2- T15.04-5017
Phase 1 Contract #:
Subtopic Title:
Integration of Airframe with Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP) System
Proposal Title:
ELAS, Electric Lift Augmenting Slats
CubCrafters Inc.
1918 South 16th Avenue
Yakma, WA  98903 - 1212
Phone: (509) 895-9465
Oklahoma State University-Main Campus
107 Whiteburst
Stillwater, OK  74078 - 1010
Phone: (405) 744-3208

Principal Investigator (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)

David Ullman
1918 South 16th Avenue, Yakma, WA 98903 - 1212
(541) 760-2338

Business Official (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)

Patrick Horgan
1918 South 16th Avenue, Yakma, WA 98903 - 1212
(509) 895-9465
Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) :
Begin: 3
End: 7
Technical Abstract (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)

Electric Lift Augmenting Slats (ELAS) is a combination of leading-edge slats and a series of small electric ducted fans (EDFs) accelerating the air in the gap between the slat and the main body wing airfoil. The ELAS Concept provides: JATO-like (Jet Assisted Takeoff) electric-powered boost on takeoff and climb out, descent and landing speed reduction, steeper approach angles, and improved low-speed margins and handling qualities. ELAS can be added to an existing airframe or built into the wings as original equipment. It can even be designed as retractable when not in use. Rather than the EDFs being used to solely add thrust, ELAS also provides a dramatic increase in lift by increasing the speed of the air over the top surface of the wing, a form of upper-surface-blowing.

This work is built on earlier successful projects combined with recent advances in distributed electric propulsion.  The distributed, small electric ducted fans alter the airflow over the wing in ways not possible with two internal combustion engines (the Custer channel-wing) or multiple large turbines (the Boeing YC-14 and the NASA QSRA). 

Further, ELAS can provide improved low-speed aircraft control through both the increase in maximum lift and stall angle, and differential power distribution. Command of the power distribution has the potential to reduce loss-of-control (LoC) during critical low-speed periods and provide improved handling qualities during gusts. 

While there is a big push to develop eVTOL aircraft, ELAS offers a much shorter path to near-eVTOL capability. This claim is supported by the following Phase I findings: 1) A variety of small aircraft equipped with ELAS can takeoff and approach/land with near-helicopter-like profiles. 2) Can be attached to existing aircraft or built into new aircraft: lower acquisition and recurring costs than eVTOL. 3) 50%-100% more range with more payload than comparable eVTOL. 4) next-gen battery technology is not required. 5) Uses Off-The-Shelf hardware.

Potential NASA Applications (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)

Potential applications within NASA include humanitarian aid delivery via aircraft requiring STOL capability; development of a low-cost aerial vehicle for exploration and transportation with acquisition and operation costs less than many unpiloted vehicles currently in use; and ELAS applications for advanced off-field capability with piloted, optionally-piloted, and unpiloted CubCrafters aircraft. From a research perspective, ELAS has significant potential as a distributed electric propulsion Quiet Short-Haul Research Aircraft (QSRA) technology.

Potential Non-NASA Applications (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)

Market drivers for CubCrafters & similar manufacturers are centered on aircraft that provide STOL performance while also offering best-in-class useful load & cruise speeds. By the core nature of this innovation's purpose, ELAS is directly positioned to enhance all aspects of STOL operations across the industry: takeoff, climb, approach & landing, enabling further utility & larger safety margins.


Duration: 24

Form Generated on 01/12/2022 20:58:31