Whisper Aero Proposes 100-Seat Electric Airliner Concept

Ultraquiet propulsion developer Whisper Aero has submitted a proposal to NASA for a 100-seat battery-electric regional airliner concept.

(Crossville, Tennessee) Ultraquiet propulsion developer Whisper Aero has submitted a proposal to develop its design for a 100-seat battery-electric regional airliner concept under NASA’s Advanced Aircraft Concepts for Environmental Sustainability (AACES) program, which aims to provide a path to net-zero aviation by 2050 and is allocating a total of $8 million in funding in its first phase.

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An array of 22 electric ducted fans is integrated into the leading edge of the Whisper Jetliner’s wing. Photo of Whisper Aero’s 100-seat battery-electric regional concept courtesy of Whisper Aero via Aviation Week Network.

Whisper Aero is a propulsion system developer - the goal for both the company's nine-seat and 100-seat concepts is to demonstrate how ultraquiet, ultraefficient electric ducted fans can enable battery-electric regional aircraft, according to Aviation Week.

“We wanted to see if battery-electric aircraft could outcompete economically hydrocarbon-based solutions, so that it becomes a rational business decision to go to a zero-emission aircraft and retire the existing fleet,” Whisper CEO Mark Moore said, per Aviation Week. “We wanted to project out where our technology would be going over the next 20 years, and how that coincided with other technology invigoration, especially for the battery-electric regional mobility market,” he adds.

The Whisper Jetliner proposal was submitted as a bid seeking further conceptual development under a new NASA program, per Aviation Week. Similar to the nine-passenger Whisper Jet concept unveiled by Whisper in June 2023, the Jetliner has an outboard horizontal tail configuration, with the horizontal and vertical stabilizers mounted on wingtip booms.

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Photo of Whisper Aero’s nine-passenger Whisper Jet concept courtesy of Whisper Aero.

AACES is a follow-on to NASA’s N+3 studies in 2010, which developed concepts for ultraefficient airliners that could enter service in 2035; these resulted in NASA’s Boeing X-66A Sustainable Flight Demonstrator, which is planned to flight test the long-span, low-drag transonic truss-braced wing in 2028, according to Aviation Week.

Founded in 2020, Whisper has to date flown a 10-lb.-thrust thruster on a 55-lb. uncrewed aircraft. The company has extensively studied scaling up its electric ducted fans to thousands of pounds of thrust under contract from the U.S. Air Force’s AFWERX innovation unit, per Aviation Week.

Whisper broke ground on a new flight testing facility in Tennessee in July of 2023; the Whisper Aero Flight Test Center will be an 8,000-square-foot hangar located at Crossville Memorial Airport (KCSV), adjacent to the company’s headquarters in Crossville, Tennessee. The new space will have high bay areas for the testing and integration of Whisper’s electric ducted fans, plus some additional office space for engineering activities, according to Future Flight.

Newsfeed: Thursday, May 30, 2024