Skip to main content
European Commission logo

diStributed Open-rotor AiRcraft

European Union
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Total project cost
€782 889
EU Contribution
€591 214
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Vehicle design and manufacturing (VDM)
Transport mode
Airborne icon
Transport policies
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport


Call for proposal
Link to CORDIS
Background & Policy context

The SOAR open-fan wing technology at the focus of this project is a new concept that distributes the thrust and powered-lift over the entire span of the wing resulting in a model-proven lift efficiency three times that of helicopters as well as truly quiet U-STOL performance and safe autorotation landing.


Wind tunnel testing augmented by CFD simulations during the SOAR programme are expected to bring improvements in lift efficiency, flight speed and cruise economy to the order of 10% to 20% relative to those seen on small-scale wind tunnel and flight models. The experimental data collected in this programme will be incorporated in a common aircraft design study targeting a certain mission range. The aircraft is developed in two versions - one passenger and one freight aircraft. The passenger version carries about 60-70 passenger. The freight version is able to carry up to eight tonnes of freight. These two aircraft projections, based on the same wing and propulsion system, will subsequently be evaluated in terms of their direct operating cost in comparison with competing types such as conventional STOL aircraft, helicopters and Tilt-rotor aircraft. It is believed that the SOAR open-fan wing technology, to be developed during this programme, will provide significant technical data at a much larger scale than previously; and this will eventually lead to a new class of aircraft with attractive operational and economic features.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
The European Commission
Type of funding
Public (EU)


A new take on aircraft take-off and landing

New engine designs will enable passenger and other aircraft to use less terrain for take-off and landing than ever before.

Aviation research has long dreamed of building aircraft that require little take-off and landing space rather than long runways and enormous surface areas. One enterprising effort in this direction is the EU-funded (SOAR) (Distributed open-rotor aircraft) project, based on a novel concept of an open-fan wing aircraft. The latter represents one of the latest aircraft technologies that blends fixed wing aircraft and helicopter, offering stable short take-off and landing (STOL) capabilities and possibly hovering capabilities.

In more technical terms, the technology is based on propulsion from a fan that is fixed on top of the wing structure and that can create a vortex to lift the aircraft. To achieve these aims the project is combining efforts of the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), FanWing Ltd. of the United Kingdom, the Belgian Von-Karman Institute (VKI) and Germany's Saarland University.

Together, the project partners have already made excellent progress in advancing the propulsion and fan drive system. This included calibration of different components, installation of necessary sensors and completion of required wind tunnel tests to select the best materials, blade pitch angles and speeds. A key advantage of such aircraft is the reduced noise during take-off and landing, enabling it to fly at any time of day and within city limits.

Apart from transport, STOL aircraft could potentially be used for crop dusting, surveillance, logistics, firefighting and a number of pilotless operations. These possible markets will help refine the concept further, a consideration that SOAR is currently working on.

Overall, the expected stability, hover capability, modest fuel needs, reduced runway length and increased safety could help revolutionise the industry. Lastly, a reduction in maintenance, construction and certification costs will contribute to making STOL aircraft leaner, more efficient and more environmentally friendly.


Lead Organisation
Deutsches Zentrum Fr Luft Und Raumfahrt E.v
Linder Hoehe, 51147 KOELN, Germany
Organisation website
EU Contribution
€125 754
Partner Organisations
Fanwing Limited
Dorset Street 43-45, London, W1U 7NA, United Kingdom
EU Contribution
€219 007
Institut Von Karman De Dynamique Des Fluides
Chaussee De Waterloo 72, 1640 Rhode Saint Genese, Belgium
EU Contribution
€145 128
Universitaet Des Saarlandes
Campus, 66123 SAARBRUECKEN, Germany
EU Contribution
€101 325


Technology Theme
Computer-aided design and engineering
CFD and FEA modelling of gust loads
Development phase

Contribute! Submit your project

Do you wish to submit a project or a programme? Head over to the Contribute page, login and follow the process!