Getting Ready to Propel: Check out Wisk’s Wind Tunnel Test

June 12, 2024

In the rapidly evolving world of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, every detail counts. From motor efficiency to propeller performance, optimizing these elements is crucial for creating a safe, efficient, and high-performing aircraft. One of the most vital tools in this process is wind tunnel testing. 

Test Facility

Wisk is performing its wind tunnel tests at Boeing’s Vertical/Short Take-Off and Landing Wind Tunnel (BVWT) outside of Philadelphia, PA. The wind tunnel is one of the largest in the country and is purpose-built for testing rotors and propellers. This also gave Wisk access to 50 years of vertical lift testing experience and the opportunity to collaborate with Boeing’s aerodynamic test engineers.

Insight from Propeller Wind Tunnel Testing

Wind tunnel tests provide a unique glimpse into how our aircraft will perform in real-world flight conditions. Unlike flight test aircraft, which can be limited in the data they provide, wind tunnel tests offer detailed, quantitative insights into component-level forces and moments. This data is invaluable for calibrating the analysis and fine-tuning our simulation models, ensuring they are as accurate as possible.

Key Parameters Evaluated During Propeller Wind Tunnel Tests

During these tests, we focus on several critical parameters:

  1. Aerodynamic Performance: We measure propeller thrust and torque using advanced test stands. This data helps calibrate the databases used in our simulation and performance models, ensuring they reflect real-world performance.
  2. Propeller Loads: Our loads and dynamics team closely monitors strain gauge output from the propeller blades and pitch links. This information helps us refine our models and identify opportunities to expand our flight envelope safely.

Benefits of Wind Tunnel Testing

Wind tunnel testing allows us to refine our designs before integrating all subcomponents into a flight test aircraft. This approach ensures that our flight envelope is safe and well-understood long before flight testing begins. It’s a safer and more cost-effective method for exploring and expanding the flight envelope, allowing us to make adjustments and improvements in a controlled environment. These insights will lead to improvements in helping Wisk maximize performance across different flight regimes.

Additionally, the data we gather is crucial for ensuring our certification aircraft meets or exceeds all required safety standards. These tests also provide valuable insights into aerodynamic efficiency and noise reduction, helping us create a quieter, more efficient aircraft.


Wind tunnel testing is a cornerstone of eVTOL development, providing the detailed data and insights needed to optimize performance and ensure safety. By refining our designs through these tests, we can confidently advance our technology to help bring our autonomous, passenger carrying air taxi to market.