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Whisper Aero reveals propulsor design and jet mockup for quiet, hybrid electric flight

Whisper Aero’s quiet flight technology consists of a relatively slow spinning ducted fan with a high number of blades, the company revealed in engineering papers according to a report by Paul Brinkmann of Aerospace America.

According to the report:

“The company founded in Tennessee by former NASA engineer and Uber Elevate co-founder Mark Moore described its propulsion method and business plan in three papers presented at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics 2023 Aviation Forum.

“The high efficiency is “achieved with a very high blade-count fan. The blades are tensioned to an outer shroud, similar to the spokes of a bicycle wheel, for sustained rigidity throughout operation,” Moore wrote in his paper.

““Our blades are just like spokes on a bicycle wheel, with a rim so that they are very stiff. They have to be very rigid,” Moore said.  “We spin substantially slower — way, way slower — than any propeller or turbofan. We’re not going to say the precise number, but we spin so slowly that the centrifugal forces on this rim aren’t that significant that it would tear apart,” he said.

“According to Moore, the slow tip speed and high blade count results in some of the pressure waves, or noise, ending up in an ultrasonic range that is not audible to the human ear but not high enough to be annoying to animals.  Some frequencies of noise from the company’s propulsors would be audible to humans close to the aircraft, but still quiet enough that it wouldn’t be heard from a distance of 60 meters, Moore said.

“The company doesn’t intend to produce this aircraft by itself, Moore said. “We’re convinced we can be faster by partnering with an established player, like a GKN or a Honda or Cirrus, rather than trying to do it all ourselves,” Moore said. He said he’s not ready yet to say who that partner will be.”

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(Image: Whisper Aero)

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