Published April 25, 2019 | Version v1
Presentation Open

Electric and Hybrid Aviation – From Media Hype to Flight Physics

  • 1. Hamburg University of Applied Sciences


Purpose – This presentation takes a critical look at various electric air mobility concepts. With a clear focus on requirements and first principles applied to the technologies in question, it tries to bring inflated expectations down to earth. Economic, ecologic and social (noise) based well accepted evaluation principles are set against wishful thinking.

Design/methodology/approach – Aeronautical teaching basics are complemented with own thoughts and explanations. In addition, the results of past research projects are applied to the topic.

Findings – Electric air mobility may become useful in some areas of aviation. Small short-range general aviation aircraft may benefit from battery-electric or hybrid-electric propulsion. Urban air mobility in large cities will give time advantages to super-rich people, but mass transportation in cities will require a public urban transport system. Battery-electric passenger aircraft are neither economic nor ecologic. How overall advantages can be obtained from turbo-electric distributed propulsion (without batteries) is not clear. Maybe turbo-hydraulic propulsion has some weight advantages over the electric approach.

Research limitations/implications – Research findings are from basic considerations only. A detailed evaluation of system principles on a certain aircraft platform may lead to somewhat different results.

Practical implications – The discussion about electric air mobility concepts may get more factual. Investors may find some of the information provided easy to understand and helpful for their decision making.

Social implications – How to tackle challenges of resource depletion and environment pollution is a social question. Better knowledge of the problem enables the public to take a firm position in the discussion.

Originality/value – Holistic evaluation of electric air mobility has not much been applied yet. This presentation shows how to proceed.


Hamburg Aerospace Lecture Series --- Collection of Presentations ---



Files (7.4 MB)

Name Size Download all
7.4 MB Preview Download