Date of Award

Spring 4-1997

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Charles N. Eastlake

Committee Member

David Kim

Committee Member

Vicki Johnson


A wingtip vortex turbine (WVT) is an induced drag reduction device that straightens the vortex flow (reducing induced drag and wake turbulence) and also produces a thrust force component. The WVT also has the advantage of extracting the rotational energy of the vortex to turn a generator, which could be used to power onboard applications during normal or emergency flight operations. A 1/4-scale model of a thrust-producing WVT has been designed and tested in a wind tunnel for optimal drag reduction and power generation for general aviation aircraft — specifically, a Piper Cherokee — in both a stationary and a rotating mode. In addition, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6-bladed configurations were tested, over a pitch angle range of-35° to 0°. The 6-bladed configuration proved to be the most efficient at both reducing drag and generating maximum power. At cruise, this model was shown to increase the overall drag slightly by 40 to 60 counts. However, at lift coefficients greater than 0.8, the overall drag was reduced by 20 to 40 counts, depending on whether it was stationary or rotating. At cruise, it generated a power coefficient of 0.004, and a maximum of 0.0059 at a CL=0.85. These coefficients corresponded to full-scale power outputs of 4.5 hp and 6.7 hp, respectively.