Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 9

Downloaded from SAE International by Steven Sullivan, Wednesday, November 28, 2018

PAPER SERIES 2008-01-2860

Examination of Aircraft Electric Wheel

Drive Taxiing Concept
Anita Teo, Kaushik Rajashekara,
Jason Hill, and Brian Simmers
Rolls-Royce plc

Power Systems Conference

Bellevue, Washington
November 11-13, 2008

400 Commonwealth Drive, Warrendale, PA 15096-0001 U.S.A. Tel: (724) 776-4841 Fax: (724) 776-0790 Web: www.sae.org
Downloaded from SAE International by Steven Sullivan, Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Engineering Meetings Board has approved this paper for publication. It has successfully completed
SAE's peer review process under the supervision of the session organizer. This process requires a
minimum of three (3) reviews by industry experts.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or
transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise,
without the prior written permission of SAE.

For permission and licensing requests contact:

SAE Permissions
400 Commonwealth Drive
Warrendale, PA 15096-0001-USA
Email: permissions@sae.org
Tel: 724-772-4028
Fax: 724-776-3036

For multiple print copies contact:

SAE Customer Service

Tel: 877-606-7323 (inside USA and Canada)
Tel: 724-776-4970 (outside USA)
Fax: 724-776-0790
Email: CustomerService@sae.org

ISSN 0148-7191
Copyright © 2008 SAE International

Positions and opinions advanced in this paper are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of SAE.
The author is solely responsible for the content of the paper. A process is available by which discussions
will be printed with the paper if it is published in SAE Transactions.

Persons wishing to submit papers to be considered for presentation or publication by SAE should send the
manuscript or a 300 word abstract to Secretary, Engineering Meetings Board, SAE.
Downloaded from SAE International by Steven Sullivan, Wednesday, November 28, 2018


Examination of Aircraft Electric Wheel Drive Taxiing Concept

Anita Teo, Kaushik Rajashekara,
Jason Hill, and Brian Simmers
Rolls-Royce plc

Copyright © 2008 SAE International

ABSTRACT study. The potential of nose wheel drive and main

wheel drive configurations were examined. The
The potential benefits offered by alternative aircraft additional capabilities of the electric wheel drive system
taxiing methods without the use of the aircraft’s main were considered, as were the key constraints and
engines have attracted substantial interest in recent design challenges associated with such a system in a
years from the aviation industry as well as the general retrofit application. The outcome of the evaluation on
public. Amongst the proposed aircraft taxiing methods, mission fuel use was also evaluated.
the electric wheel-drive concept has received the most
media attention. As part of ongoing research and
development into the More Electric Aircraft (MEA), a
study has been conducted to examine the technical Two aircraft models were selected for the study – a short
feasibility of an electric wheel-drive taxiing system using haul, single aisle, twin engine aircraft and a long haul,
publicly available aircraft and runway coefficient data. twin aisle, four engine aircraft. The aircraft differ not
The study shows the potential for overall mission fuel only in size and landing gear arrangement, but also in
burn reductions, particularly for short haul aircraft with a their mission range and mission profile. These
relatively long taxi time. The study also highlights that differences allow us to assess how the no-engine
the wheel-drive system needs to be considered as an alternative taxiing system is likely to be used, as well as
integral part of the design of the next generation of MEA the likelihood of the electric wheel-drive system
as it has implications for other systems on board the contributing to an overall mission fuel burn saving.
aircraft, particularly the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU)
required to power the wheel-drive system. CURRENT AIRCRAFT TAXIING PROCEDURES
Currently, aircraft use the main engines operating at
INTRODUCTION ground idle thrust to move along the runway prior to
The potential of taxiing aircraft without using the main take-off and after landing. Aircraft taxiing operation
engines has in recent years attracted substantial consists of two main phases namely the taxi-in phase
attention from the aviation industry as well as the and the taxi-out phase. On departure, the taxi-out phase
general public. A number of market drivers including can be defined as the ground manoeuvre of an aircraft
reduction in ground emissions and improvement in from the apron to the beginning of the take-off grid; while
aircraft turn around time are driving this interest. the taxi-in phase is the ground manoeuvre of an aircraft
Amongst the proposed aircraft taxiing methods, the on arrival from the point of completion of its thrust
electric wheel-drive concept has received the most reversal to arrival at the designated parking area. The
media attention. As part of ongoing research and procedure for outbound flights involves three main
development into the More Electric Aircraft (MEA), a stages: pushback, taxi-out and take-off. Similarly the
study has been conducted to examine the technical procedure for inbound flights involves five main stages:
feasibility of an electric wheel-drive taxiing system using application of reverse thrust, braking, removal of reverse
publicly available aircraft and runway coefficient data. thrust, retraction of nacelle cowls and other flight
surfaces, and taxi-in.
The study examined the operational requirements of the
aircraft engines in the context of no-engine taxiing, The wheel-drive taxiing system should be capable of
current aircraft taxiing procedures and how they define performing at least the most typical ground taxiing
the functional requirements and system design criteria manoeuvres that an aircraft encounters as it taxis into
for an electric wheel-drive system. Both long-range and and out from the airport terminal gate. Such
short-range subsonic civil aircraft were considered in the manoeuvres include reverse, forward and turning modes
Downloaded from SAE International by Steven Sullivan, Wednesday, November 28, 2018

(90o and 180o turns) with repeated stop / start the life of the engine will not be affected by any form of
requirements as shown in Figure 1 and Figure 2. no-engine taxiing methods.
Understanding of aircraft taxi manoeuvres and taxi
profiles is important as such manoeuvres and profiles The duration required for engine warm up is also
govern the functional requirements, the operating influenced by the engine temperature at start up; longer
regimes and the duty cycles of the wheel-drive electrical durations are required to start a cold engine than a warm
machines and drives. engine. The term “cold engine” refers to an engine that
has been shut down for a substantial period of time after
the last landing. The definition of cold engine varies for
different engines – general guidance on the definition
Heading to take
off start line,
appropriate to a particular engine is given in the
engine on corresponding aircraft Standard Operating Procedures
Taxi out, engine off (SOPs) [1].

Engines start The requirement for engine warm up and engine cool
Push back, down has two implications. The first is that in small or
engine off
low traffic airports, if the aircraft taxiing duration is less
than the duration required for engine warm up or engine
cool down, the electric wheel-drive taxiing system will be
Figure 1 Anticipated aircraft taxi out procedure of no use to the corresponding aircraft. The second
implication is that when comparing fuel use of the
electric wheel-drive taxiing concept, or other types of no-
engine alternative taxiing concepts, to the existing
Touch down, engine on method for the same taxi duration, fuel consumption of
the engines during the warm up and cool down period
Taxi in, engine off
must be taken into account.

Figure 2 Anticipated aircraft taxi in procedure The selected short haul aircraft has a retractable tricycle
landing gear arrangement, consisting of two steerable
ENGINE OPERATIONAL REQUIREMENTS nose wheels and four main wheels. The long haul
aircraft has a multi-wheel landing gear arrangement of
Rotor bow refers to the physical deformation or out-of- two steerable nose wheels and several sets of grouped
round condition of a rotating element. Rotors can bow multiple main wheels. The Maximum Design Taxi
through a number of mechanisms but uneven Weight (MTW) of the aircraft is fully supported by both
temperature distribution is one of the major contributors the nose landing gear and the main landing gear. The
in most cases. Bows introduced into a rotor from MTW is the maximum weight for ground manoeuvres as
asymmetrical heating or improper cooling are generally limited by the aircraft strength and airworthiness
referred to as ‘Thermal Bows’. A common example is a requirements and it includes the weight of the taxiing
hot rotor that is shutdown without adequate time to cool and the run-up fuel [2-3]. (Run-up fuel is the fuel used at
down. the end of taxiing to build up maximum thrust from
ground idle ready for take-off.) The weight distribution
Rotor bow is not generally an issue of concern when between the nose landing gear and the main landing
aircraft main engines are used to perform the taxiing gear varies with the aircraft’s centre of gravity and hence
procedure, since the taxi procedure involves significant the load at each aircraft wheel will also vary. The
time at low engine power allowing the engine to warm up amount of load available at each wheel directly
or cool down. If no-engine alternative aircraft taxiing determines the amount of traction available at each
methods are to replace the current main engine taxiing wheel to put the aircraft in motion. Typically, the nose
method, sufficient time to allow for engine warm up and landing gear supports between 5% and 10% of an
engine cool down must be taken into account. Prior to aircraft’s MTW, depending upon whether the centre of
take off, sufficient warm up time is required by the gravity is forward or aft [2-3]. The nose landing gear has
aircraft engines to gradually absorb the heat soak to minimum (5%) wheel load when the aircraft has an aft
steady state idle conditions to avoid rotor bow and to centre of gravity and maximum (10%) wheel load when
complete the thermal cycle to build up sufficient take off the aircraft’s centre of gravity is located in the forward
thrust. Similarly, after landing, sufficient cool down region. The rest of the aircraft MTW is supported by the
duration is required to allow for gradual dissipation of main landing gear. Depending on the number of main
heat from the engines to avoid rotor bow. The amount wheels available on the main landing gear structure, this
of warm up and cool down time can vary depending on weight is equally distributed across each of the main
the engine size but it is important to build in sufficient wheels.
allowance appropriate to the engine size to ensure that
Downloaded from SAE International by Steven Sullivan, Wednesday, November 28, 2018

If an electric wheel-drive system is to be used to taxi an Level of Incline

aircraft, the ground contact surface of the driven wheels
has to provide sufficient traction to transmit the starting Flat 1o 2o 3o 4o
torque required to overcome the aerodynamic resistance Effort required to
(head wind), friction and to accelerate the inertia. A move and
typical value for the coefficient representing the sum of accelerate 57.10 70.28 83.48 96.69 109.9
the static and rolling resistance of 0.05 was used aircraft from
throughout the study. This includes the effect of the static (kN)
weight of the aircraft deforming the tyre, particularly
when an aircraft has been parked for a long time. Table 2 Traction require to move aircraft

P = 0.8 P = 0.45 P = 0.2

The amount of traction available from an aircraft’s
wheels is influenced by many factors. However, wheel (good) (medium) (bad)
load (determined by vertical force on wheel) and the
Nose wheels FCG (kN) 60.52 34.04 15.13
runway conditions (determined by the runway coefficient
of friction) are the two major factors that govern whether Nose wheels AFC (kN) 30.26 17.02 7.56
the number of selected driven wheels is sufficient to
provide the traction required to move the aircraft. In Table 3 Traction available from both nose wheels
order to provide a satisfactory system to facilitate aircraft
taxi operation, the electric wheel-drive system should be Comparison of Table 2 and Table 3 indicates that the
able to satisfy most runway conditions. The following nose wheel-drive configuration is adequate only when
section illustrates the traction effort available at the the aircraft has a forward centre of gravity position and is
wheels and the effort required to move an aircraft on operating on flat ground or ground with a very small
different runway conditions with different degrees of incline with a good runway condition; apart from dry and
incline. Table 1 shows the coefficient of friction (P) for wet concrete / asphalt below 1o of incline, the nose
various runway conditions ranging from very good to wheel-drive would struggle to move the aircraft. The
very bad, indicated by their decreasing coefficient of capability of the nose wheel-drive is very sensitive to the
friction [2-3]. position of the aircraft’s centre of gravity; as can be seen
from Table 3. If the aircraft’s centre of gravity moves to
Runway Conditions P the aft region, the nose wheel-drive system will struggle
even on good, flat runway conditions.
Dry concrete or asphalt 0.80
Wet asphalt 0.75 Identical calculations were performed on the selected
long haul aircraft. The conclusions were broadly similar
Wet concrete 0.57
to those for the short haul aircraft.
Snow / Chains 0.45
Sanded ice at – 18 C 0.37
This assessment assumed that two of the four main
Sanded ice at – 4oC 0.20 wheels of the selected short haul aircraft were to be
Ice 0.05 used to house the wheel-drive electrical machines. It
was assumed that when the aircraft’s centre of gravity
Table 1 Runway coefficient of Friction was located forward, all main wheels were supporting
90% and when it was aft they were supporting 95% of
NOSE WHEEL DRIVE CONFIGURATION the aircraft’s MTW. The effort required to move the
This assessment assumed that both nose wheels of the selected short haul aircraft from static remains the same
selected short haul aircraft with tricycle landing gear regardless of whether we use the nose wheel-drive or
arrangement are to be used to house the wheel-drive the main wheel-drive configuration. Calculations similar
electrical machines. It was assumed that when the to those shown in Table 3 were repeated for the main
aircraft’s centre of gravity is located forward (FCG) both wheel-drive configuration. Results of the calculation are
nose wheels support 10% of the aircraft’s MTW, and presented in Table 4.
when the centre of gravity was aft (ACG), both wheels
support 5%. The effort required to accelerate (at 0.25
m/s2) the selected short haul aircraft from stationary was P = 0.8 P = 0.45 P = 0.2
calculated for a flat runway and for runways with various (good) (medium) (bad)
degrees of incline, as shown in Table 2; a typical value
is around 1.5 degrees [4]. Table 3 shows the amount of Nose wheels FCG (kN) 272.3 153.2 68.08
traction available at both nose wheels for three selected Nose wheels AFC (kN) 287.5 161.7 71.86
runway conditions. The three coefficients of friction
were selected from Table 1 to represent good, medium Table 4 Traction available from all driven main wheels
and bad surface conditions.
Downloaded from SAE International by Steven Sullivan, Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Comparison of the results in Table 2 and Table 4 The very high torque and slow speed operational
indicates that the main wheel-drive configuration is specification for the aircraft taxiing operation indicated
adequate for medium runway conditions, or better, with that a sufficiently compact direct drive electrical machine
an incline of up to 4o and even with bad runway was unlikely to be feasible. In applications where high
conditions, the main wheel-drive configuration can move torque is required but the volumetric space envelope is a
the aircraft from static on a flat runway or one with 1o of significant design constraint, gears are used in
incline. conjunction with high-speed machines to overcome the
space constraint whilst achieving the torque
Similar calculations were performed on the selected long requirement. Utilisation of gearing can help to reduce
haul aircraft. These indicated that at least half of the the size and weight of the wheel-drive electrical
main wheels were required to provide sufficient traction machines. The size reduction associated with an
to achieve a similar performance to that of the short haul electrical machine is usually proportional to the gear
aircraft. Even though 90%-95% of the aircraft’s MTW is ratio, up to a certain threshold. However, the weight of
supported by the aircraft’s main landing gear, the total the gear itself can be significant. Selection of an
load is distributed uniformly across all of the main appropriate gear to achieve the required reduction in
wheels, therefore the resultant wheel load available at machine size involves a balance between the weight of
each main wheel is only marginally larger than the wheel the machine and that of the gearbox.
load on a single nose wheel. As a result, half of the long
If a geared wheel-drive system is to be utilised, a failsafe
haul aircraft’s main wheels are required to provide
mechanism will be required to prevent the wheels from
sufficient traction to move the aircraft.
locking up due to a mechanical failure, i.e. due to the
gear system jamming, especially during aircraft push
CONSTRAINTS ASSOCIATED WITH RETRO-FIT back from the gate terminal to the apron. A clutching
mechanism is also likely to be required to disengage the
Apart from the above constraints, the study has also
gear train from the wheel-drive machines once the
identified additional constraints associated with a retrofit
aircraft reaches its engine start bay prior to engine start
electric powered wheel-drive taxiing system solution.
to ensure that the main wheels can freewheel during
The study concluded that a retrofit solution cannot be
take off – the wheel-drive machine is not required to
achieved, due to the following reasons:
operate (i.e. provide torque) at the speeds required for
x The main wheel-drive configuration is hampered by aircraft take-off but must either be structurally sound at
the very limited space available for the hub-mounted these speeds or must be disengaged. Similar
wheel-drive electrical machines. requirements apply during aircraft landing, prior to touch
x The torque density of the electrical machines to
achieve a wheel-drive assembly comparable to the In general, increasing the current density in an electrical
wheel size on existing aircraft is not currently machine helps to reduce the size of the machine.
available. However, the limiting factor associated with the increase
in current density is the winding temperature rise, which
x The capacity of the existing onboard APU is in turn depends on the cooling arrangement. The key to
insufficient to provide the power required by the achieving a very high torque density for a machine which
wheel-drive system. is only used for a short duration is to exploit the thermal
x The aircraft landing gear structures are not currently mass of the winding, and to some extent the remainder
designed to be driven at nominal taxi speed. of the machine, to achieve a short-term current density
rating which is several times the continuous value. This
x The existing landing gear cannot accommodate the should be achieved without exceeding the maximum
weight of the electrical machines. temperature of the machine, while ensuring that the
wheel-drive system will have sufficient residual capability
DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS to perform the subsequent aircraft taxiing sequence.
Weight is a crucial factor in the design of any An estimate of the current density that can be employed
commercial airplane system due to its direct influence on for transient operation can be obtained by considering
fuel consumption during takeoff, climb and at cruising the heating of the coil during starting as a purely
altitude. The consequences of the additional onboard adiabatic process, i.e. none of the heat generated in the
weight are reduction in payload and mission range. In winding leaves during the transient. This is a worst-case
addition, extra weight on an aircraft is limited by the estimate, the validity of which depends on the duration
aircraft strength and airworthiness requirements. of the starting period and the cooling methods employed
Furthermore, the size and weight of the wheel-drive within the machine. Figure 3 shows the calculated time
electrical machines could influence the mechanical and for a winding to heat from an initial ambient temperature
the aerodynamic performance of the landing gear. of 40qC to 180qC. The times quoted are applicable to
Therefore, the size and weight of the wheel-drive any machine, since they are independent of the volume
electrical machines employed should ideally be of copper in the winding. This shows that if the winding
comparable to that of the aircraft’s wheels. insulation material selected for the wheel-drive electrical
machine has a temperature rating of 180oC, 43 seconds
Downloaded from SAE International by Steven Sullivan, Wednesday, November 28, 2018

is available before the thermal rating of the insulation down, additional fuel burn during the flight due to
material is exceeded, with a current density of 20 additional weight of the wheel-drive equipment
A/mm2. However, it is important to recognise that (estimated at approximately 500 kg for the machine,
although the torque from an electrical machine increases converter and gearbox for the short-haul aircraft), the
in direct proportion to the current density at low values, increased weight of the higher capacity APU and the
gradual onset of magnetic saturation in the stator core potential aircraft structural reinforcement requirements.
dictates the upper limit of the current density. However, due to the difficulty in predicting the weight
increases due to the higher capacity APU and the
300 aircraft structural reinforcement requirements, these
aspects have not been included in this mission fuel trade
assessment. The APU thermal efficiency has been
Temperature ( o C)

taken as constant while increasing the rating of the APU
150 to accommodate the additional electric load.
The mission fuel trade has been estimated by comparing
the total fuel burn by the engine,s only taxiing method
0 against the electric wheel-drive taxiing method for a
0 10 20 30 40 50 60
Time (s)
range of assumed aircraft taxi durations. For a given
aircraft taxi duration, mission fuel trade was obtained by
using the following formula:
Figure 3 Time taken for winding temperature to increase
from 40oC to 180oC at a current density of 20 A/mm2.
Mission fuel trade = Total fuel burn by engines for W min
Apart from the maximum resisting torque discussed aircraft taxi duration (taxi with main engines only) – Total
above, the requirements for the electric wheel-drive fuel burn by [(engine warm up for 5 min) + (engine cool
system can become increasingly challenging in the down for 5 min) + (APU for W min minus 10 min) + (effect
presence of other critical design criteria such as the of the additional estimated electric wheel-drive
ability of the wheel-drive system to cope with maximum equipment weight during flight for a selected mission
ground incline, maximum taxi speed, maximum profile)].
acceleration rate or a combination of all of the above.
In order to be an airworthy, integrated part of the overall A positive fuel trade result indicates that the electric
aircraft, the electric wheel-drive system should be highly wheel-drive taxiing system contributes to a mission fuel
reliable, easy to install, easy to remove as an assembly saving whereas a negative fuel trade result indicates that
and easy to replace. In addition, the wheel-drive system the amount of fuel consumed due to the additional weight
should be low maintenance and not require specialist of the electric wheel-drive system equipment is greater
tools for routine maintenance and servicing. The electric than the amount of fuel consumed with existing engines-
wheel-drive assembly should also be designed to only taxiing method. The results of the mission fuel
withstand contamination, corrosion, the temperature and trade assessment are shown in Table 5 and Table 6.
the humidity of the operating environment. The system
should be designed to be failsafe and any failure modes
should not lead to catastrophic events that could SHORT HAUL AIRCRAFT
jeopardise the safety of the aircraft.
Assumed Taxi Duration
The efficiency benefits of the electric wheel-drive taxiing 50 min 31 min 14 min 10 min
concept as compared to the existing aircraft taxiing
method will largely accrue through the elimination of 500 + + - -
main engine running at idle during taxiing, rather than 1000 + + - -
being directly determined by the inherent efficiency of
the electrical machine and gear train. 1500 + + - -
2000 + + - -
To illustrate the above, we take a typical taxi (i.e. ground
idle) power setting of 7% of maximum [5]. To work out 2500 + - - -
the mission fuel trade associated with electric wheel-
drive taxiing, it is important to take into account the APU Table 5 Fuel trade indicators for various mission range
fuel consumption (assuming that the APU is used to for a short haul aircraft
power the electric wheel-drive system), engine fuel
consumption during engine warm up and engine cool
Downloaded from SAE International by Steven Sullivan, Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Figure 4 Surface plot showing the variation of fuel trade

against mission range and taxi duration for a short haul
aircraft Figure 5 Surface plot showing the variation of fuel trade
against mission range and taxi duration for a long haul
The results in Table 5 show that if a 50 minute taxiing
duration is anticipated for the selected short-haul Similar fuel trade assessments and plots have been
aircraft, taking into account 40 minute APU fuel burn, 10 generated for the selected long haul aircraft. The results
minute allowance for engine warm up and engine cool in Table 6 indicate that a positive mission fuel trade can
down and additional fuel burn during flight due to the be anticipated only for very short mission ranges with very
additional equipment weight, there will be a fuel saving long aircraft taxi durations.
benefit associated with the utilisation of the electric
wheel-drive taxing system. On the other hand, results in The outcome of the assessment is that the electric
Table 5 show that if a 10 minute taxiing duration is wheel-drive taxing concept, powered by the aircraft
anticipated, then there will be more fuel used because APU, is unlikely to be useful for long haul aircraft due to
the selected aircraft will not be able to utilise the electric the fact that the taxi phase forms a relatively small
wheel-drive system at all due to the requirement for fraction of the aircraft mission. Short haul aircraft can
engine warm up and cool down. However, the aircraft potentially benefit from such a concept only if the aircraft
has to carry the extra weight of the wheel-drive taxi duration occupies a relatively large part of an aircraft
equipment during flight causing more fuel burn than mission. The 3-D surface plots of Figure 4 and Figure 5
without having the system onboard. This negative gain indicated that positive fuel trade associated with a
in fuel burn is indicated by a ‘-‘ marker in Table 5. wheel-drive taxiing system increases with a decrease in
aircraft mission range and / or an increase in aircraft taxi
The three-dimensional surface plot in Figure 4 shows duration.
the variation of fuel trade as the mission range and the
taxi duration for the selected short haul aircraft vary. For GROUND EMISSIONS
the four different aircraft taxi durations considered in this
study, fuel savings are anticipated for taxiing duration The contribution of electric wheel-drive taxiing to
above 31 minutes. emissions savings is more complex than just the fuel
burn saving. If the power supply to the wheel-drive
LONG HAUL AIRCRAFT taxiing equipment is to be derived from the onboard
aircraft APU, the system might win on fuel burn, but
100% might lose on NOx. The production of NOx is a function
Assumed Taxi Duration
of the engine (or APU) cycle: the higher the temperature
50 min 31 min 14 min 10 min
the more NOx emissions tend to be produced, but the
(nm) higher the temperature, the higher the efficiency of the
1000 - - - - engine. Careful assessment with more accurate data is
required to quantify the emission trade of such a system
2000 - - - - and the implications on APU design, particularly if a
more powerful APU is required.
3000 - - - -
5000 - - - - The use of an electric machine for driving the wheels
raises the possibility of spinning up the wheels prior to
6000 - - - -
landing to reduce tyre wear. However, the touch down
Table 6 Fuel trade indicators for various mission range speed would be significantly higher than the taxiing
for a long haul aircraft speed so this would be an additional design constraint
on the machine, which would compromise the machine
design. Detailed design studies would be required to
Downloaded from SAE International by Steven Sullivan, Wednesday, November 28, 2018

assess whether the benefit of spinning up the wheels REFERENCES

outweighs the sub-optimal machine design.
1. Transport Canada Civil Aviation, “Multi Crew Aircraft
The safety of such a system also needs consideration Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)”, Edition 1,
since the landing wheels must still be able to rotate September 2001.
under fault conditions – a clutch would be required to http://www.tc.ca/CivilAviation/commerce/manuals/m
allow the wheels to spin up freely on touch down in the ulticrewSOP/OtherFormats.html.
event of a locked machine or gearbox.
2. Boeing Commercial Airplanes, “737 Airplane
It is also feasible to use the motor to act as a brake on Characteristics for Airport Planning”, Doc No. D6-
the wheels, reducing the duty on the current mechanical
58325-6, October 2005.
braking system (the deletion of any weight as a result
has not been factored into the fuel trade). The duty on
the machine under braking conditions, including an
aborted take-off, is different from that during normal
taxiing operation and would impose another design 3. Boeing Commercial Airplanes, “747-400 Airplane
constraint on the machine. The machine is unlikely to Characteristics for Airport Planning”, Doc No. D6-
be able to provide all of the braking duty but could 58326-1, December 2002.
provide assisted braking which could allow power to be http://www.boeing.com/commercial/airports/plan_ma
regenerated into the aircraft, although at the landing nuals.html.
stage of the mission it may not be possible to use this
extra power. 4. Federal Aviation Authority, “Advisory Circular 150 /
5300 – 13: Airport Design”.
CONCLUSIONS http://www.airweb.faa.gov
The study led to the following conclusions:
5. Civil Aviation Authority, “ICAO Engine Emissions
x The main wheel drive configuration offers greater Databank”.
applicability than the nose-wheel-drive configuration http://www.caa.co.uk/default.aspx?catid=702.
for the electric wheel-drive system concept.
x Short mission range and long aircraft taxiing
duration offer potential positive fuel trade benefit CONTACTS
associated with the electric wheel-drive taxiing
Teo, Anita L J is an Electrical Engineer working for
system concept.
Rolls-Royce Electrical Systems based in the UK. E-mail:
x High temperature materials and advanced heat Anita.Teo@Rolls-Royce.com
transfer mechanisms will be required for both the
electrical machines and the power converter to cope Rajashekara, Kaushik is the Chief Technologist for
with the duty cycle resulting from the aircraft taxiing Rolls-Royce Integrated Power Systems Team based in
operation. the US. E-mail: K.Rajashekara@Rolls-Royce.com
x Only a properly thought out integrated aircraft- Hill, Jason E is a Senior Specialist for Rolls-Royce
engine system solution in the More Electric context Electrical Systems based in the UK. E-mail:
can offer the opportunity to realise electric taxiing. Jason.Hill@Rolls-Royce.com
This can only be achieved if the intention of having
such a system onboard has been incorporated into
Simmers, Brian E is the Engineering Manager for Rolls-
the early design process of the next generation of
Royce Electrical Systems based in the UK. E-mail:
More Electric Aircraft and More Electric Engines.
x Enabling technologies to realise the proposed
concept needs to be pursued now.

The authors are grateful to Rolls-Royce plc for
permission to publish. The More Electric initiative at
Rolls-Royce involves too many people to name
individually but the authors would like to acknowledge
contributions to this initiative from colleagues in the
Electrical Systems team in the US, UK and Germany,
the Rolls-Royce Strategic Research Centre, and from
colleagues at the Rolls-Royce University Technology
Centres (UTCs) at the Universities of Strathclyde,
Sheffield and Manchester.