Why Ducted Fan UAV?

Ducted fan UAVs with vertical takeoff and landing provide many advantages to their equivalent fixed- and open-wing counterparts. When it comes to safety, payload, and scalability, the ducted fan UAV is incomparable.

  • The vehicle's propeller is shrouded, allowing closer access to specific targets or areas of interest and preventing the user from risk or injury so it is much safer than an open blade or propeller.
  • Ducted fan UAVs maintain a higher payload to vehicle ratio. The vehicle can carry 4x the payload of a similar footprint fixed- or open-wing UAV.
  • Ducted fan UAVs are backpack-able and tube-deployable unlike fixed- and open-wing UAVs. Ducted fan UAVs are easily scaled to specific missions or applications. They can carry as little as a few ounces and hover and stare for 10 minutes or they can carry as much as a 23 pound payload and operate for two hours; the applications are limitless.

These are a few of the many advantages to using ducted fan UAVs. To find out more about why ducted fan UAVs are a more desirable candidate than fixed- or open-wing UAVs for your applications, view AVID's presentation "The Case for Ducted Fan VTOL."

                                            Capabilities: Ducted Fan UAV Versus Quad-Rotor UAV

                                            Capabilities: Ducted Fan UAV Versus Quad-Rotor UAV

AVID designs ducted fan propulsors for all types of vehicles - from backpackable hovering UAVs, to fixed wing HALE concepts. The fan design considers aerodynamic, acoustic performance, and structural considerations for a balanced, optimized design that can be tailored to the customer's specifications and priorities. An interactive design process is utilized to iterate on a design that will meet performance goals and integrate smoothly with the vehicle and powerplant.

Ducted Fan Design Process

  • Trade studies to develop the best fan for integration with the vehicle's other components such as engine mounting struts.
  • Assessment of fan shape and RPM impact on performance, weight, maneuverability, and radiated noise.
  • Stator design for optimum combined performance and increased thrust. Modeling of shape, twist, lean, and sweep and their effect on performance, weight, and radiated noise.
  • Blade pitch angle range analysis to show the effect of more aggressive pitch mechanisms on the overall performance of the vehicle.
  • Upon selection of fan RPM, a detailed design study will be performed to create a baseline fan design. CAD files of the 3-D geometry of the blade will be created.

An iteration of the fan design will be conducted to optimize the fan once integration aspects of the fan are determined. If the original fan needs to be modified to achieve performance goals, then additional design trades will be undertaken. Fan performance predictions will document figure of merit and design options.