CROP Project Enters Negotiation Phase

July 20, 2012

Following the excellent results obtained in the evaluation, by experts, of the CROP project, the negotiation phase got an OK from the European Commission.

This means the project will be financed by EU. The project partners are now starting the “engines” to initiate the project work.



March 31, 2012

The results to be expected from this project are:
– improvement in aerodynamic efficiency of the cycloidal rotor for application in large vehicles
– integration of low-weight electric drives into the cycloidal propulsion system
– analysis of the more promising configurations for airframe cycloidal propulsion integration
– assessment, and optimization, of energy necessities for the novel propulsion system
– a green energy approach to the PECyT system, by being powered by solar photovoltaic or fuel cells
These results will be achieved using a multidisciplinary scientific approach. The expertise involved include:
advanced unsteady CFD simulations, plasma boundary layer control, aeroelasticity modeling, novel
superconducting electric drives, and the necessary integration with the airplane manufacture  industry. This will demonstrate the feasibility of the system, by defining its operative range and the possible limitations connected to its application.


March 31, 2012

Proposal full Title Cycloidal Rotor Optimized for Propulsion
Proposal Acronym CROP
Type of funding scheme Collaborative Project- Small or medium-scale focused research project
Work programme topics addressed AAT.2012.6.3-1. Breakthrough and emerging technologies
Other relevant Topics AAT.2012.6.3-2. Radical new concepts for air transport
Name of the coordinating person Prof.  José Páscoa
1 Universidade da Beira Interior UBI Portugal (Prof. José Páscoa)

2 Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia UNIMORE Italy (Prof. Dr. Antonio Dumas)

3 IAT21 innovative aeronautics technologies GmbH IAT21 Austria (Retired UK Brigadier General David Wills)

4 University of Sheffield UoS Great Britain (Prof. Geraint Jewell)

5 Grob Aircraft AG Grob Germany (Mr. Klaus Metzger)

6 Politecnico di Milano POLIMI Italy (Prof. Pierangelo Masarati)


March 31, 2012

The PECyT cyclorotor introduces several potential advantages in comparison with traditional VTOL or fixed
wing air vehicles. Since it uses common surfaces to achieve lift and thrust along the full range of flight
speeds, and this can be helpful in eliminating wing drag at high speed. The use of a wing rotating around the
axial axis creates lift, and thrust, when the blades move backward in relation to the vehicle´s direction of
flight. This makes possible to use the intermittent, but very high, lift value generated by the unsteady
pitching of the blades. Further, the rotational speed and pitch of the cyclorotor does not need to increase with
vehicle speed, since the achievable thrust increases with forward airspeed for a constant rotor angular
velocity. Moreover, the cyclorotor lifting area is related to its VTOL efficiency, and that area is inferior than
for helicopters and jet vectored thrust.
The possibilities opened by the development of an air vehicle that is capable to attain high subsonic
velocities, and also capable of VTOL without the need to make a radical reconfiguration of its geometry are
– more convenient commercial transportation
– rapid disaster/rescue response
– flexible multi-mission military defense vehicles
– green friendly vehicles able to be powered by renewable or photovoltaic electricity

To achieve these goals, it is proposed that an air vehicle incorporating the PECyT cyclorotor concept must
make use of unconventional aerodynamic and structural innovations, leading to the creation of a
revolutionary subsonic aircraft.
It is considered adequate that a cyclorotor based air vehicle will make use of symmetrical blades with
unlimited controllable pitch in relation to the airframe. This vehicle can make a smooth transition from lowspeed,
and vertical flight, to high speed forward flight by reducing the rotor angular velocity, so that the
blades rotational speeds drop below the forward vehicle flight speed. Since thrust and lift can be maintained
across all speeds, and the achievable thrust increases with increasing vehicle speed at a constant rotor angular

About CROP – New Cycloidal Propeller for Air Vehicles

March 31, 2012

It is nowadays of paramount importance to devise new breakthrough concepts, that can introduce disruptive advancements, resulting on novel air vehicle designs with improved performances and reduced environmental and energetic impacts. The CROP project introduces a novel propulsion concept that intents to conduct to the design of a radically different new propulsion system for aerial vehicles. This can be a key element for a future breakthrough innovation in air transport, by implementing an environmentally friendly propulsion system with a reduction in associated costs. It is indeed the resulting “crop” from a large scope of scientific developments that enable, at present time, to present this concept as feasible. The project aims to demonstrate the possibility of a novel propulsion system based on the cycloidal device referred as PECyT (acronym of “Plasma Enhanced Cycloidal Thruster”) that has been under development at University of Beira Interior. It brings up the benefits of the strong unsteady flow thrust effects, when associated to a plasma based boundary layer control. Also, and in order to achieve a lower weight/power ratio, an integration with novel electric drives, as those developed by University of Sheffield Rolls-Royce UTC is considered. The integration of CROP into an air vehicle will certainly imply a redesign of the airframe, in order to achieve the best performance for the overall system. The new concept will be associated to diverse air vehicle mission profiles, and may lead to the establishment of new ones, resulting on a long term advancement in air transport having a small environmental footprint. The system is devised to be powered by solar photovoltaic and/or fuel cells. Globally, the proposed concept is strongly committed to contribute to the success of a Green Era on air transport as envisaged by European Union decision makers. This novel propulsion concept will imply to take into consideration the aerial vehicle design as a whole, and to explore radically new concepts only made possible by the recent progress achieved on the understanding of unsteady blade flow, low power boundary layer control by plasma actuators, low weight electrical drives, aeroelastic modeling of modern materials, and solar and hydrogen based energy sources. The integration of the novel propulsion device will concomitantly contribute to improve aerial vehicle design, both in terms of maneuverability and reduction of take off and landing spaces, including hovering.


Welcome to EU CROP Project Proposal Site

March 31, 2012

CROP – Cycloidal Rotor Optimized for Propulsion


This is a new project proposal to EU 7th Framework Programme. Please help us support this proposal by providing feedback through this blog.

Reasons for the new project:

The CROP project introduces an innovative propulsion system for aircrafts based on the cycloidal rotor concept, using an integrated approach that includes the electric drive train, airframe integration and an environmental friendly energy source.
The CROP system is supported on a multiphysics approach:

1. The high thrust is obtained by unsteady-based cycloidal rotor operation;

2. The development of low-weight electric power drives for the system;

3. Airframe re-design to accomplish optimum integration of the cycloidal propulsor;

4. Environmental friendly energy source based on hydrogen and photovoltaic cells.

The strenghts of the CROP concept are:

– High thrust lelvels: by using unsteady airflows

– Low weight: using an integrated design approach between airframe and cycloidal propulsor

– Environmental friendly: because it is based on green energy power sources.

The revolutionary CROP propulsion concept will introduce new air-vehicle concepts, overcoming traditional limitation on short take-off and landing, including hovering capability.