Date of Award

Spring 2024

Access Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Richard Anderson

First Committee Member

Kyle Collins

Second Committee Member

Kimberly Heinzer

Third Committee Member

Alex Chaparro

College Dean

James Gregory


The Fan-In-Wing (FIW) aircraft concept is one of the most compelling solutions for missions demanding jet-like cruise speeds and Vertical TakeOff and Landing (VTOL) capability. However, despite years of interest and documented improvements in lift-fan technology, there exists little in the way of an adequate theory for conceptual design of a fan-in-wing aircraft. To address this issue, a general conceptual design methodology has been developed as a source of guidance for the FIW designer. Through this work, the top-level requirements ranking the fan-in-wing concept above other VTOL aircraft have been defined, while a cross-comparison between the FIW concept and conventional aircraft reveals major discrepancies in their design philosophies, constituting the need for a separate design algorithm. The final conceptual design methodology emerges from an elaborate technique of relating the FIW concept’s major cruise and hover performance metrics to a physical disk area constraint imposed by the size of its wing reference area. Out of this process, a theoretical and practical design space for sizing the FIW concept has been defined, and as a result, the FIW aircraft designer is given an effective means of iterating on the initial size of their wings and lift fans to meet a set of cruise and hover performance requirements. A final demonstration of how the conceptual FIW design methodology is implemented in practice has been included using an example case study.