You are on page 1of 170

EML 4905 Senior Design Project

A B.S. THESIS
PREPARED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE
REQUIREMENT FOR THE DEGREE OF
BACHELOR OF SCIENCE
IN
MECHANICAL ENGINEERING



Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
Final Report



Seyed Maysam Alavi
Ana Puente
Natalia Alejandra Posada

Advisor: Professor Ibrahim Tansel


April 20, 2011


This B.S. thesis is written in partial fulfillment of the requirements in EML 4905.
The contents represent the opinion of the authors and not the Department of
Mechanical and Materials Engineering.


ii

Ethics Statement and Signatures
Team Members: Natalia Posada, Ana Puente and Seyed Alavi
Adopted 10/21/2010
Code of Ethics
The work submitted in this project is solely prepared by a team consisting of Seyed Alavi, Natalia Posada,
and Ana Puente and it is original. Excerpts from others’ work have been clearly identified, their work
acknowledged within the text and listed in the list of references. All of the engineering drawings,
computer programs, formulations, design work, prototype development and testing reported in this
document are also original and prepared by the same team of students.
Fundamental principles
(Adapted from the Association of Professional Research for Advancement (APRA) Statement of Ethics.)
1. Honesty: We will be truthful regarding our identity and the purpose and sources of our work.
2. Relevance: We will seek and record only information that is relevant and appropriate to the project
assigned for EML 4905.
3. Confidentiality: We will work to protect constituent information in all forms (oral, electronic,
magnetic, and print).
4. Accuracy: We will strive to accurately record all constituent related information.
5. Fairness: We will strive to analyze and record information without prejudice or bias.
6. Accountability: We will accept responsibility for our actions and be accountable to those who place
their trust in us and report those who do not abide by the Policies and Practices

Seyed Alavi
Team Member
Natalia Posada
Team Member
Ana Puente
Team Member

Javier Palencia
Graduate Advisor
Dr. Tansel
Faculty Advisor



iii

Contents
Ethics Statement and Signatures ............................................................................................................. ii
Contents................................................................................................................................................. iii
List of Figures ........................................................................................................................................viii
List of Tables ......................................................................................................................................... xiii
Nomenclature ....................................................................................................................................... xv
Abstract ................................................................................................................................................ 16
1. Introduction .................................................................................................................................. 16
1.1 Problem Statement .................................................................................................................... 17
1.2 Motivation ................................................................................................................................. 17
1.3 Literature Survey ....................................................................................................................... 18
2. Project Formulation ....................................................................................................................... 21
2.1 Overview ................................................................................................................................... 21
2.2 Project Objectives ...................................................................................................................... 22
2.3 Design Specs .............................................................................................................................. 23
2.4 Constraints and Other Considerations ........................................................................................ 23
2.4.1 Swept Forward........................................................................................................................... 24
2.4.2 Swept Back Wing ....................................................................................................................... 25
2.4.3 Delta Wing ................................................................................................................................. 26
2.4.4 Straight Wing ............................................................................................................................. 26
2.4.5 Wing Position............................................................................................................................. 27
2.4.6 Empennage Configuration.......................................................................................................... 27
2.4.7 Propeller Location ...................................................................................................................... 28
2.4.8 Fuselage .................................................................................................................................... 29
2.4.9 Communication Hardware Considerations ................................................................................. 31
2.4.10 Propulsion System Consideration ........................................................................................... 33
3. Design Alternatives ........................................................................................................................ 36
3.1 Overview ................................................................................................................................... 36

iv

3.2 Design Alternative 1 ................................................................................................................... 36
3.3 Design Alternative 2 ................................................................................................................... 37
3.4 Design Alternative 3 ................................................................................................................... 38
3.5 Feasibility Assessment ............................................................................................................... 38
3.6 Proposed Design ........................................................................................................................ 40
4. Project Management Project Management.................................................................................... 41
4.1 Overview ................................................................................................................................... 41
4.2 Work Breakdown ....................................................................................................................... 42
4.3 Gantt Chart ................................................................................................................................ 44
5. Engineering Design and Analysis .................................................................................................... 46
5.1 Aerodynamic Design and Analysis .............................................................................................. 46
5.1.1 Introduction ............................................................................................................................... 46
5.2 Wing Geometry Parameters ....................................................................................................... 48
5.3 Initial Weight Estimation ............................................................................................................ 50
5.4 Wing Loading ............................................................................................................................. 51
5.4.1 Aspect Ratio ............................................................................................................................... 52
5.5 Wing Design ............................................................................................................................... 53
5.5.1 Airfoil Selection .......................................................................................................................... 55
5.5.2 Dihedral Angle ........................................................................................................................... 62
5.5.3 Wingtip ...................................................................................................................................... 63
5.5.4 Wing Location ............................................................................................................................ 64
5.6 Empennage Design .................................................................................................................... 64
5.6.1 Horizontal Tail ............................................................................................................................ 65
5.6.2 Horizontal Airfoil Selection ......................................................................................................... 66
5.6.3 Vertical Tail ................................................................................................................................ 68
5.6.4 Vertical Airfoil Selection ............................................................................................................. 69
5.7 Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) ......................................................................................... 70
5.7.1 Computational Fluid Dynamics 3-Dimensional ........................................................................... 70

v

5.7.2 Mesh Generation Details ........................................................................................................... 71
5.7.3 SimpleFoam Solver .................................................................................................................... 73
5.8 Results ....................................................................................................................................... 75
5.9 Other Design Considerations ...................................................................................................... 82
5.9.1 Motor Selection ........................................................................................................................ 82
5.9.2 Propeller selection ..................................................................................................................... 84
5.10 Structural Design and Analysis ................................................................................................... 85
5.10.1 Introduction –Material Selection ............................................................................................ 85
5.10.2 Wing ...................................................................................................................................... 85
5.10.3 Fuselage Structure ................................................................................................................. 90
5.10.4 Fuselage Design ..................................................................................................................... 91
5.10.5 Electrical components ............................................................................................................ 93
5.11 Empennage Assembly Design ..................................................................................................... 99
5.12 Landing Gear............................................................................................................................ 103
5.13 Aircraft Structural Assembly ..................................................................................................... 107
5.14 Stability and Control ................................................................................................................ 107
5.14.1 Directional Static Stability and Control ................................................................................. 108
5.14.2 Lateral Static Stability and Control ........................................................................................ 112
5.14.3 Longitudinal Stability ............................................................................................................ 113
5.15 Electrical Design ....................................................................................................................... 117
5.16 Work Time Cost Analysis .......................................................................................................... 117
5.17 Software Discussion ................................................................................................................. 119
5.18 OPENFOAM ............................................................................................................................. 120
5.18.1 Procedure ............................................................................................................................ 120
6. Prototype Construction................................................................................................................ 124
6.1 Description of Prototype .......................................................................................................... 124
6.2 Prototype Cost Analysis ........................................................................................................... 124
6.3 Prototype Construction ............................................................................................................ 125

vi

6.3.1 Description of Prototype .......................................................................................................... 125
6.4 Wings ...................................................................................................................................... 126
6.5 Wing Tips ................................................................................................................................. 129
6.6 Ailerons ................................................................................................................................... 130
6.7 Fuselage .................................................................................................................................. 131
6.8 Camera Mounting Section ........................................................................................................ 136
6.9 Empennage .............................................................................................................................. 137
6.10 Horizontal Stabilizer ................................................................................................................. 138
6.11 Horizontal Stabilizer Assembly ................................................................................................. 140
6.12 Tip section ............................................................................................................................... 141
6.13 Elevator ................................................................................................................................... 141
6.14 Vertical Stabilizer ..................................................................................................................... 141
6.15 Boom Assembly ....................................................................................................................... 143
6.16 Monokote ................................................................................................................................ 144
6.17 Cost Analysis ............................................................................................................................ 144
6.18 Improvement on design ........................................................................................................... 145
6.19 Discussion ................................................................................................................................ 146
7. Testing and Evaluation ................................................................................................................. 147
7.1 Overview ................................................................................................................................. 147
7.2 Design of Experiments - Description of Experiments ................................................................ 147
7.2.1 Camera Testing ........................................................................................................................ 147
7.3 Autopilot Testing ..................................................................................................................... 148
7.4 Environmental Impact .............................................................................................................. 153
8. Conclusion ................................................................................................................................... 153
8.1 Future Work ............................................................................................................................ 155
9. References ................................................................................................................................... 155
10. Appendices .............................................................................................................................. 159
10.1 Appendix A. Detailed Raw Design Calculations and Analysis (Scanned Material) ....................... 159

vii




viii


List of Figures
Figure 1: Flight Parameters .................................................................................................................... 18
Figure 2: Propeller Location-Tractors ..................................................................................................... 28
Figure 3: Propeller Location - Tractors ................................................................................................... 28
Figure 4: Fuselage .................................................................................................................................. 29
Figure 5: Fuselage truss structure .......................................................................................................... 30
Figure 6: Gauge readings due to sensors, gyros, and GPS ....................................................................... 31
Figure 7: Sample Target ......................................................................................................................... 32
Figure 8: Design Alternative 1 ................................................................................................................ 37
Figure 9: Alternative Design 2 ................................................................................................................ 37
Figure 10: Alternative Design 3 .............................................................................................................. 38
Figure 11: Proposed design.................................................................................................................... 41
Figure 12: Gantt chart............................................................................................................................ 44
Figure 13: Basic Forces on Airplane ........................................................................................................ 46
Figure 14: Total drag vs. Airspeed .......................................................................................................... 47
Figure 15: Basic wing geometry ............................................................................................................. 49
Figure 16: Visual Aircraft Dimensions..................................................................................................... 54
Figure 17: Airfoil Basics .......................................................................................................................... 56
Figure 18: Bernoulli's Law of Pressure .................................................................................................... 56
Figure 19-Airfoil FX63-137 ..................................................................................................................... 58
Figure 20-Airfoil MH 112 ....................................................................................................................... 58
Figure 21-Airfoil DAE 31 ......................................................................................................................... 58

ix

Figure 22-Airfoil CLARK Y ....................................................................................................................... 58
Figure 23: Coefficient of Lift and Drag vs. angle of attack for four different airfoils ................................ 60
Figure 24: Coefficient of lift, drag and moment, L/D and power factor for four airfoils with the respect to
the angle of attack ................................................................................................................................. 61
Figure 25: Winglets and Wingtips .......................................................................................................... 63
Figure 26: Wing Tip................................................................................................................................ 63
Figure 27- Aft tail positioning, Raymer’s Aircraft Design pg 77 ............................................................... 65
Figure 28: Block Mesh ........................................................................................................................... 72
Figure 29: Coarse Concentrated Mesh on Wing ..................................................................................... 72
Figure 30: Refined Concentrated Mesh on Wing .................................................................................... 73
Figure 31: Final Open Foam Result Screenshot ...................................................................................... 74
Figure 32: Coarse Mesh Pressure Distribution........................................................................................ 75
Figure 33: Pressure distribution around center of wing- DX63-137 airfoil ............................................... 76
Figure 34: Pressure distribution at wing tip of FX 63-137 ....................................................................... 77
Figure 35: OpenFoam Result of 3D coarse mesh around fuselage .......................................................... 77
Figure 36: Solidworks simulation around fuselage ................................................................................. 78
Figure 37: Pressure distribution around fuselage-SolidWorks ................................................................ 78
Figure 38: Velocity distribution around fuselage - SolidWorks................................................................ 79
Figure 39: Spinner ................................................................................................................................. 84
Figure 40: Dihedral ................................................................................................................................ 86
Figure 41: Deflection Analysis ................................................................................................................ 87
Figure 42: Deflection Analysis –Factor of Safety ..................................................................................... 88
Figure 43: Deflection Analysis-Static Displacement ................................................................................ 88
Figure 44: Wing Rib Structure ................................................................................................................ 89

x

Figure 45: Wing Rib Structure ................................................................................................................ 90
Figure 46: Semi-Monocoque [18] ........................................................................................................... 91
Figure 47: LiPo Batteries ........................................................................................................................ 93
Figure 48: Proposed Layout-Side View ................................................................................................... 94
Figure 49: Proposed Layout- Top View ................................................................................................... 94
Figure 50: Camera ................................................................................................................................. 94
Figure 51: Test: Aerial Picture at 5 Mega Pixels ...................................................................................... 95
Figure 52: Camera Mount-View underneath the plane .......................................................................... 95
Figure 53: Camera Mount Side View ...................................................................................................... 96
Figure 54: Standard OTS bolts and nut assembly.................................................................................... 96
Figure 55: OTS Corner Brace .................................................................................................................. 97
Figure 56: OTS Plate for camera bracket ................................................................................................ 98
Figure 57: Frontal Proposed Design Assembly ........................................................................................ 99
Figure 58: Rear Landing Gear ................................................................................................................. 99
Figure 59: Connector Boom Assembly Alternative 1............................................................................. 100
Figure 60: Connector Boom Assembly Alternative 2 (Selected) ............................................................ 100
Figure 61: Shaft connector................................................................................................................... 101
Figure 62: Horizontal Stabilizer Assembly ............................................................................................ 101
Figure 63: Vertical Stabilizer Assembly ................................................................................................. 102
Figure 64: Empennage Assembly Alternative 1 .................................................................................... 102
Figure 65: Empennage Assembly Alternative 2 .................................................................................... 103
Figure 66: Frontal Landing Gear ........................................................................................................... 104
Figure 67: Landing Gear Ranges ........................................................................................................... 104
Figure 68: Landing Gear Analysis-Factor of Safety ................................................................................ 105

xi

Figure 69: Landing Gear- Static Nodal Stress Analysis........................................................................... 105
Figure 70: Rectangular Landing Gear- Factor of Safety ......................................................................... 106
Figure 71: Rectangular Landing Gear- Static Nodal Stress Analysis ....................................................... 106
Figure 72: Plane motion....................................................................................................................... 108
Figure 73: Directional Stability ............................................................................................................. 109
Figure 74: Stability Coefficients with respect to Mach Number ............................................................ 110
Figure 75: Static and Dynamic Stability ................................................................................................ 114
Figure 76: Statically and Dynamically Unstable .................................................................................... 114
Figure 77: Statically and Dynamically Unstable .................................................................................... 115
Figure 78: Electrical Component Schematic ........................................................................................ 117
Figure 79: Wing tip .............................................................................................................................. 130
Figure 80: Cutting Ailerons .................................................................................................................. 131
Figure 81: AOA adapters ...................................................................................................................... 132
Figure 82: Rib fitting ............................................................................................................................ 133
Figure 83: Mounting Boards ................................................................................................................ 133
Figure 84: Interior................................................................................................................................ 134
Figure 85: Shelving .............................................................................................................................. 135
Figure 86: Support ............................................................................................................................... 135
Figure 87: Camera Mount .................................................................................................................... 136
Figure 88: Camera Support .................................................................................................................. 137
Figure 89: Cutting inner pockets .......................................................................................................... 142
Figure 90: Vertical Stabilizer ribs .......................................................................................................... 142
Figure 92: Horizontal Stabilizer connected to boom ............................................................................. 143
Figure 91: Covering Vertical Stabilizer with skin (1/32in) ...................................................................... 143

xii

Figure 93: Schematic ........................................................................................................................... 149
Figure 94: Micropilot ........................................................................................................................... 149
Figure 95: Servo Board Schematic ........................................................................................................ 150
Figure 96: Servo Board ........................................................................................................................ 150
Figure 97: Path Google Maps ............................................................................................................... 152
Figure 98: Waypoints ........................................................................................................................... 153
Figure 99: Take Off .............................................................................................................................. 154
Figure 100: Cruise ................................................................................................................................ 154
Figure 101: Landing ............................................................................................................................. 154

xiii

List of Tables
Table 1: Nomenclature .......................................................................................................................... xv
Table 2: Design Metrics ......................................................................................................................... 21
Table 3: Wing Configurations ................................................................................................................. 24
Table 4: Wing Positioning ...................................................................................................................... 27
Table 5: Empennage Configurations ...................................................................................................... 27
Table 6: Autopilot Systems and Respective Interfaces............................................................................ 33
Table 7: Feasibility Assessment .............................................................................................................. 39
Table 8: Side to Side Propulsion System Comparison ............................................................................. 40
Table 9: Proposed Design Specs ............................................................................................................. 41
Table 10: Work Breakdown-Into Specific Tasks ...................................................................................... 42
Table 11: Work Breakdown ................................................................................................................... 45
Table 12: Aspect Ratio for Varying Wing Geometries ............................................................................. 48
Table 13: Projected Total Payload .......................................................................................................... 51
Table 14: Preliminary Dimension Summary ............................................................................................ 54
Table 15: Specifications and Performance Predictions ........................................................................... 55
Table 16: High lift airfoil evaluation parameters .................................................................................... 57
Table 17: Airfoil comparison in terms of AoA, CL, Cd, Cm, L/D, and Power Factor .................................. 62
Table 18: Empennage Parameters ......................................................................................................... 66
Table 19: Vertical Stabilizer Parameters ................................................................................................. 68
Table 20: Input Parameters ................................................................................................................... 74
Table 21: Force Coefficients- 3D Full wing Analysis at AOA 0 .................................................................. 75
Table 22: Velocity Considerations .......................................................................................................... 82
Table 23: Take-off parameters ............................................................................................................... 83

xiv

Table 24: Center of Gravity Calculation .................................................................................................. 92
Table 25: Lateral Stability - Middle, Low and High Wing [16] ................................................................ 113
Table 26: Work Hours Invested ............................................................................................................ 117
Table 27: Simulation Software Capabilities .......................................................................................... 119
Table 28: Prototype Preliminary Cost ................................................................................................... 124
Table 29: Cost Analysis ........................................................................................................................ 144


xv

Nomenclature
Table 1: Nomenclature
Variable Description
L Lift
D Drag
T Thrust
W
G
Weight due to gravity
q Dynamic Pressure
S Surface Area
ρ

Density of air for the free stream flow
CL Coefficient of Lift
CD Coefficient of Drag
v

Free stream flow velocity
Re Reynolds number
µ
o
Viscosity of the flow
x Distance from the leading edge of the airfoil
τ Shear Stress on the lifting surface
q
Dynamic Pressure
2
1
2
µv

v

Free stream flow velocity
x Distance from the leading edge of the airfoil


16

Abstract
In its present form this research and design report is a result of an investigation into electric
unmanned aerial systems for an UAV competition with prolonged flight capabilities. Additional
investigation in the field of remotely operated planes and off the shelf (OTS) vehicles led to an array of
challenges within the current unmanned aerial vehicle systems industry of which flight duration for
electric systems was prominent. In lieu of a grand variety of UAV platforms in the market the UAV
aircraft design is focused on developing an ultra-light weight and sturdy electric aircraft with a high lift
airfoil and high performance OTS control systems. The design entails a 10% increase in flight time over
commercial off the shelf counterparts. The study will provide a detailed overview of the history,
challenges, current developments, design and growth potential of the system integration of custom
aerodynamic high lift aircrafts and OTS control systems with a prolonged flight time capabilities. The
report also details the design, manufacturing and testing process used by the team in preparation for
the AUVSI SUAS 2011 Competition. The goal of the competition is to build a mission ready unmanned
aerial vehicle for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR).
1. Introduction
The 21
st
century is marked as the beginning of aerial reconnaissance era which has paved the
way in the development of high tech aerial vehicles with video and global positioning capabilities.
Drones, aircrafts controlled from the ground, are an invaluable asset to soldiers in hostile environments.
These aerial systems, which once upon a time weighed hundreds of pounds, have reduced significantly
in size. Still, improvements on drones are in high demand. The success of drones has prompted
governments to invest in making them more durable, lightweight, and autonomous. An overview of past

17

developments, current projects and future projections of UAVs in the military presents an
understanding of the importance of continued research in unmanned aerial vehicles.
1.1 Problem Statement
“A company of US Marines is conducting a patrol. Our unmanned aerial system (UAS) is
supporting their sweep with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR). In order to support
them, the UAV must comply with Air Tasking Order (ATO) Special Instructions (SPINS) for departure and
arrival procedures, and then remain within assigned airspace. It will be tasked to search an area for
typical targets, and may be tasked to conduct an immediate route reconnaissance for convoy support or
a point reconnaissance if requested. Immediate ISR tasking may be requested outside currently assigned
airspace, causing the UAS operators to request deviations.” [17]
The design of an electric stable and long lasting unmanned aerial vehicle capable of intelligence,
surveillance and reconnaissance is the task. In order to design and build a high performance UAV with
such capabilities the design team aims for preliminary feasible goals such as medium level
maneuverability and high stability. We will also emphasize on the design of the internal spacing in the
fuselage to securely sustain a variety of electrical equipment on board the UAV. Furthermore, as a
senior design team we will be working collaboratively with aerobots@fiu members who will assist in the
integration of target recognition hardware and software needed for the competition.
1.2 Motivation
The development of unmanned aerial systems (UAVs) is becoming a hot item in various
industries due to their potential versatility and compactness in a variety of scenarios. UAVs can be
utilized to gather intelligence, perform border patrol or even survey disaster areas. Most military

18

industries need UAVs for reconnaissance missions and require portable and dependable aircrafts with
accurate target detection and tracking capabilities. Unfortunately, UAVs that accomplish such tasks tend
to be mission specific and costly. Thus, one of the focuses in the UAV design for this project will be to
design a high performance UAV at feasibly low cost when compared to current UAVs in the industry.
Figure 1 displays a sample flight path in which a series of waypoints are provided. The team must stay
within the area marked in red and assess the area for targets at an altitude between 100ft and 750ft.
The team must also stay in flight at least 20 minutes.

Figure 1: Flight Parameters
1.3 Literature Survey
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also known as remotely piloted vehicles or drones, have
always been part of aviation history. In America, UAV’s were used in the civil war for the first time. An
explosive device was mounted to a balloon that would cross into enemy lines and explode without
endangering a soldier’s life. During World War II the Japanese used this same concept to carry bombs

19

and blow them up on United States territory. Therefore, UAVs are popular for missions that involve a
high risk of mortality, which is why they are widely used in the military today.
The structural design criterion of a UAV has been developed over decades from serving a variety
of reconnaissance missions, surveillance services, to weather analysis. Features, such as, flight altitude
and sustainability, are monitored by using a remote control or pre-programmed computer software.
These methods are capable of controlling and flying UAV’s from a far distance by an operator or without
one. Currently, some UAVs are manufactured with autonomous flight capability. Autonomous flight
consists of reduced human-pilot interaction and simple scripted navigational functions. The purpose of
using autonomous technology also aids in the development of air vehicles with capabilities beyond line-
of-sight.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are a multi-billion dollar industry which is expected to grow
significantly in the coming years according to a 2010 market study made by Teal analysts. In order to
adequately see the array of challenges related to UAVs it is only proper to first view the pros and cons of
different types of unmanned vehicles in the industry such as fixed wing aircrafts and vertical takeoff and
landing aircrafts (VTOL). Secondly, it is also suitable to record noteworthy UAVs displayed on reputable
national and international journals and/or magazines such as Popular Mechanics. Furthermore, the
current challenges facing Unmanned Aerial Systems around the world and proposed solutions will
finalize the literary investigative aspect of this review. Hence, the gathered information provides
sufficient foundation for an educated design oriented project related to enhancement toward
unmanned aerial vehicles.
The US Federal Aviation Administration has designated 7 aircraft categories which include
Airplanes, Rotorcrafts, Gliders, Lighter than air vehicles, Powered Parachutes and Weight shift control

20

vehicles. When comparing aircrafts it is important to keep the project motivation and constraints in
mind. For example, based on preliminary research and experimentation, fixed wing aircrafts tend to
have higher endurances, decreased vibrations and increased internal space for equipment yet lack the
ability to quickly maneuver, hover and remain stationary like most of its Vertical take-off and landing
(VTOL) counterparts. Thus, it has been noted that heavier than air vehicles like airplanes, which are
designed specifically to generate enough force to permit forward speed and create a lift force greater
than the pull of gravity, can be designed for an immense variety of applications. Furthermore, they can
meet an array of functionalities while alternative vertical lift designs suffer from stability, complex
control mechanisms and reduced space for equipment storage.
Amongst the many noteworthy aerial vehicles in the industry a few stood out amid the rest such
as aircrafts made by Draganfly Innovations Inc, BOEING, and AirRobotics. The draganfly vehicle is a
remote controlled quad copter system complete with a high definition 12.1 mega pixel camera and a
low light video camera. It is equipped with great portability and stability along with a hefty price tag of
approximately$8500 for base models. The UAV design by BOEING is modular UAV which has a modular
assembly of the empennage, fuselage and wings which can be assembled and hand tossed in
approximately 5 minutes. Lastly, the AirRobotics airborne vehicle system is a hand-launched UAV with a
payload capacity of 200 cubic inches. It focuses on a modular payload lifting system pod that can be
replaced on the platform or airframe.
The United States and Israel are the current leaders in UAV systems. UAVs provide solutions to
issues in countries like El Salvador, Colombia and Canada just to name a few. In 2009 Times Magazine
reported that counternarcotics officials were able to obtain sufficient evidence from a UAV to confirm
that a suspected narco-ship on their coast was indeed trafficking drugs. In Colombia the government is

21

investing in UAVs for mine detection. With the aid of a US company CIAC, Corporacion de la industria
Aeronautica Colombiana S.A., plans to have the first mine detecting UAV prototype finished this year.
Lastly, in Canada one of the functions of UAV platforms is to conduct geophysical surveys.
2. Project Formulation
2.1 Overview
The approach toward the UAV design includes primarily the selection of a high lift low Reynolds
number airfoil in addition to light and sturdy materials as a means of prolonging flight duration. Upon
selection of an appropriate high performance airfoil the control, propeller and reconnaissance devices
are selected and sized since the bulk of the fuselage will be configured as to accommodate each
component accordingly.
Table 2: Design Metrics
Description Detail
Team Name aerobot@fiu
Mission Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance
Max Overall Length (cm) 180 centimeters
Max Overall Wing Span (cm) 182.88 centimeters
Max Body Diameter/Height (cm) 13 centimeters
Max Projected Empty Weight (g) 2200 grams

22

Power plant Electric
Max Weight 6000grams
2.2 Project Objectives
The primary objective of this project is to design an aircraft capable of competing in the student
unmanned aerial systems (SUAS) 2011 competition which is evaluated on factors such as flight
readiness, imagery and safety. The aircraft must first pass various safety inspections prior to
autonomous taking autonomous flight. Also, a set out goal for the aircraft design is that it must surpass
the flight time and efficiency of an electric UAV which normally gets less than 15 minutes of flight time
from a lithium polymer battery.




The SUAS 2011 competition is the 9
th
annual competition in which national and international
motivated universities come to compete for the title of best UAV. It is the third year FIU students
participate in this competition but it is the first time a team specifically designs the UAV to obtain
improved performance. Tailoring the aircraft as specifically a UAV platform allows us to cut down on
unnecessary loads that potentially reduce the performance.
Performance (Speed, Flight Time, Altitude Range)
15 m/s , min 20 min. , 100 ft <A < 750ft
Goal: Flight Time>20min

23

2.3 Design Specs
SUAS 2011 competition specifies various rules toward the system constraints and the
environmental conditions the aircraft may need to undergo. Additionally the rules impose time
limitations related to assembly and disassembly.
Important Specifications
- The air vehicle shall be capable of takeoff and landing in crosswinds to the runway of 8 kts with
gusts to 11 kts.
- The system shall be capable of completing mission objectives in temperatures up to 110 deg F at
the surface.
- The system shall be capable of operating in fog conditions of visibility of 2 miles or greater with
no precipitation.
- The system shall be transported from the staging area to the mission site within 10 minutes of
notification and availability of competition provided transportation (if requested).
- The system shall be disassembled and transported off of the designated mission site within 20
minutes from the end of the mission.
2.4 Constraints and Other Considerations
The conceptual Designs for the aircraft included considerations into the type of wing, the type of
empennage, and wing placement that would best suit the needs of a high performance UAV. Table 3
shows four types of wing considered for the UAV design.

24

Table 3: Wing Configurations





Swept forward Swept back Conventional Delta
2.4.1 Swept Forward
The first theory of the forward-swept wings back was proposed during Second World War by
Germans. It became more popular in 1931 when some wind-tunnel test illustrated that 20 degree of
forward sweep provided larger useful lift compared to swept-back wing. This useful lift is related to the
greater angle of attack. The forward-swept wings are good for high performance airplane, because
forward swept has the benefit of lowering compressibility effects at transonic speeds. In addition, the
forward-swept wing provides high lift advantages at lower speeds.
Analytical studies on forward-swept wing which were conducted by airframe companies
revealed higher ratio of lift-to-drag in maneuvering flight and improved low speed handling
performances. In addition, the wind-tunnel studies discovered that lift-related drag and wave drag may
also be reduced. This means it requires less energy to break the sound barrier caused by wave drag.
Furthermore, this design provides useful additional stability at subsonic or transonic flight.
On the other hand, at subsonic flight the air has less time to verify the wing shape. Therefore,
the airflow on the edges eliminates the useful lift and increases the drag. Also, the wingspan and the

25

surface area decrease around the wingtips. Based on these findings, it is noted that an aircraft with the
forward-swept wing configuration should be manned rather than remotely operated.
2.4.2 Swept Back Wing
Instead of sticking straight out from the fuselage, the swept-back wing is a wing plan- form that
bends back at an angle. The principal behind the swept back wings is to reduce drag while flying at
higher cruise speed. In other word, the angle of the air that makes with the wing’s leading edge is
related to the parasitic drag of the wing. Thus, there were initially used on the military aircraft, but due
the several advantages of this design they become almost universal in all commercial jets.
The stability mechanism of the swept back is in a way that the total drag of the wing acts on a
single point which called “Center of Drag”. Therefore, the stability of the swept back is much greater
than straight wing. When the airplane flies forward, the drag acts with equal lever arms on the both
sides of airplane. If the aircraft tend to move on the vertical axis (yaw), the drag of the forward wing has
a larger force than the other sing. As a result, the aircraft realign itself to the original direction of the
flight.
The problem with the swept-wing occurs when the aircraft slow down for landing. The tips could
drop below stall point even at the velocity where stall shouldn’t be happened. In this case, the net lift
moves forward while the tip is swept to the rear. As a consequence, the aircraft will pitch up and leads
more part of the wing stalling. As a result of the North American F-86 Sabre crash, this problem known
as “Sabre dance”.
The other problem of swept-back wing is the shorter size of wing span from tip to tip compared
to the non swept wing. The aspect ratio of the wing is significantly corresponded to the low speed drag.
This means that the airplane faces more drag at lower speed. Also, the fuselage on the swept-wing

26

airplane is under more torque compared to non swept-wing. The design of main spars in the swept-back
wing is more complicated due to the angle of the joints connection compared to the straight wing which
the main spars passes through fuselage by single continuous piece of metal.
2.4.3 Delta Wing
The delta wing is a wing plan-form which the viewed shape from top look like a triangle. The
angle of the leading edge in the front of the wing is as high as 60º and the trailing angle of the wing
which is attached to the fuselage would be around 90º. The most significant disadvantage of the delta
wing is the lack of horizontal stabilizer. In addition, it has a poor performance at low speeds and often
time is unstable. Also the delta wing aircraft required long runaway for take-off and landing.
On the other hand, the most important advantage is high efficiency performance in supersonic
flight. In supersonic speed flight, the wing’s leading edge remains behind the shock wave which is
generated by the nose of the aircraft. This concept is also applied to the swept back wing however; the
delta wing plan-form passes across the entire aircraft which makes the structure of the aircraft to be
much stronger. In addition, the location of center of gravity will be far from the spar in the fuselage.
2.4.4 Straight Wing
The straight wing configuration is a wing with no forward or backward inclination or angle. It has
desirable features for a low speed high performance aircraft in terms of stability and duration. Based on
preliminary research the straight wing design is noted as the most viable and efficient wing type for a
stable UAV plan-form.


27

2.4.5 Wing Position
Table 4: Wing Positioning


Top Wing Middle Wing Low Wing
Another design consideration included the location of a wing. The main concern included a
configuration that would permit a camera mounting bracket with sufficient clearance and stability.
Preliminary observations deemed the top wing configuration the most viable since in provides the least
interference with camera additions to the fuselage.
2.4.6 Empennage Configuration
Table 5: Empennage Configurations




Twin Tail T-Tail V-Butterfly-Tail Standard Tail
- The Twin tail configuration is includes a horizontal stabilizer directly connected to the fuselage
with two vertical stabilizers positioned perpendicularly at the tip of the horizontal stabilizer.
- The T-tail configuration contains a vertical stabilizer connected to the fuselage which is then
connected to the horizontal stabilizer.
- The V-butterfly Tail configuration includes two angled stabilizers.
- The Standard Tail configuration includes a horizontal stabilizer and a vertical stabilizer
connected to the fuselage.
There are several tail arrangements in empennage design such as T-tail, V-tail, Inverted V and
conventional tail. It was decided to make the empennage as a conventional tail because of having the

28

lightest weight among all arrangements. In addition, conventional tail configuration provides adequate
stability and control along with reasonable low drag. Table 5 illustrates these common tail
arrangements.
2.4.7 Propeller Location
An important aspect of the design of the UAV involved selecting the most adequate location for
the propeller. Figure 2 displays a wide variety of configurations for positioning the propellers in such a
way that the propeller thrusts the aircraft forward by suctioning or pulling air. Each configuration has a
number of benefits and disadvantages. For example, tractor type propeller locations enjoy undisturbed air
characteristics which can result in less vibration yet the pusher type reduces skin drag.




On Fuselage On Wing On top (pod) On Tail
Figure 2: Propeller Location-Tractors
Figure 3 on the other hand displays a wide variety of configurations for positioning propellers in such a way that
the propeller thrusts the aircraft forward by pushing air hence the name pushers.



On Fuselage On Wing On top (pod) On Tail
Figure 3: Propeller Location - Tractors

29


The fuselage is the section of the airplane that typically holds passengers, crew and/or cargo
loadings. This definition of course changes for unmanned aerial vehicles such that the principal payload
includes the power plant, power generation component, reconnaissance devices and the autopilot
system. There are several parameters and considerations that need to be deliberated when configuring
the airplane’s fuselage. The primary objective is to utilize a fuselage with reduced aerodynamic drag,
maximum aerodynamic stability and sufficient space to accommodate efficiently the electrical
components required by the mission. The structure should be a structure capable of sustaining the
forces and moments cause by the wing and empennage during flight, as well as the support for forces
cause by the ground during landing. Furthermore, the structural design should be configured to save
weight while including protection against fatigue and corrosion.
The space inside of the fuselage should be large enough for housing a number of different
auxiliary power units such as the camera, global position system, etc. Also, the space should be ample
enough for ease of payload arrangements in assembly and disassembly. Generally commercial airplanes
require more considerations to be taken into account such as the comfort and attractiveness in terms of
seat design, placement and storage space. Additionally, a commercial fuselage must be equipped with
2.4.8 Fuselage



Truss Monocoque Semi-monocoque
Figure 4: Fuselage

30

safety devices for emergencies such as fires, cabin depressurization, ditching and proper placement of
emergency exits. The internal design considerations between a commercial airplane and a UAV differ
greatly such that the seating and elevated safety measures are negligible.
There are three main fuselage structures for subsonic aircrafts; truss structures (rigid
framework), monocoque structures and semi-monocoque structures. Trusses are lightweight structures
which consist of one or more triangular units constructed with straight members whose ends are
connected at the joints. When the structure is under a load, some of the members carry tension while
the other members carry compression. During instances of load direction changes, members under
compression are later subjected to tension stresses while the rest of members surrounding it are
subjected to compression stress. The truss fuselage is a rigid, string-like and light structure because it is
composed of a configuration with a durable materials positioned as horizontal members and diagonal
braces. The Figure 5: Fuselage truss structure shows and example of the truss structure inside of the
fuselage.

Figure 5: Fuselage truss structure
The monocoque and semi monocoque are used in most of the new aircraft and UAV designs.
The semi monocoque structure looks like a half single shell in which the internal braces and the interior

31

surfaces carry the stresses. The internal braces consist of longitudinal members also called stringers and
vertical bulkheads. Thus, the surface skin inside of fuselage is thicker at some points where the stress
concentrations are greater. In the case of monocoque structures, the exterior surface of the fuselage is
the primary structure.
2.4.9 Communication Hardware Considerations
The UAV will require gyroscopes, called gyros, a camera, sensors, and GPS. The sensors and
GPS, however, are usually integrated within the autopilot system. All these electrical components are
vital for successful mission completion set forth by the SUAS competition. The gyro function will be to
keep the plane calibrated while in flight; the sensors are needed in order to evaluate the internal
integrated system within the UAV such as the speed, height, etc. Figure 6: Gauge readings due to
sensors, gyros, and GPS shows an example of gauge readings of a UAV while in flight.

Figure 6: Gauge readings due to sensors, gyros, and GPS
The GPS system will locate the UAV throughout the flight mission, and the camera will help locate the
targets for the competition as shown in Figure 7: Sample Target

32


Figure 7: Sample Target
This brings the team to decide between three systems; Attopilot , Ardupilot and Micro-Pilot.
Each of the systems facilitates the system integration of the major electrical components, as mentioned
earlier. However, there are major differences between them such as cost, the integration of
autonomous flight capability, and support. The autopilot and micro-pilot both come ready to plug and
play with the integration of autonomous flight capability but lacks readily available online support in the
case troubleshooting is needed.
The Ardupilot on the other hand has the advantage of having a help community where ardupilot
users help other users over an online forum. The ArduPilot is a full-featured autopilot system based on
the Arduino open-source hardware platform. It uses an IMU (ArduIMU) or infrared (thermopile) sensors
for stabilization and GPS for navigation. In addition, its cost is only $24.95 (without including GPS,
sensors and wireless telemetry) and due to the open source programming capability it lends itself to
work well with the other major electronic components as well. Adding the GPS, sensors and wireless
telemetry would increases the cost to approximately $300+.
Table 6: Autopilot Systems and Respective Interfaces displays the main autopilot systems in
consideration to meet the reconnaissance requirements of the competition. Each includes a display of
the interface, approximate weight and cost.


33

Table 6: Autopilot Systems and Respective Interfaces
Micro Pilot Ardupilot AttoPilot
System



Interface



Weight 28 g 45g 35g
Cost ~$6,000 ~$300 ~$2000
2.4.10 Propulsion System Consideration
The first consideration in the selection of an appropriate propulsion system included a
thorough review of the potential hazards of both electric and mechanical systems. In the case of an
electric propulsion system the most hazardous component was found to be the Lithium Ion (LiPo)
batteries. Improperly charging LiPo batteries can result in overcharging which can cause the battery to
explode. Additionally, allowing the LiPo battery to discharge below the minimum critical voltage can
negatively affect the performance of the battery. In the case of gas and glow engines the fuel is a much
larger issue. The main concern is the extremely flammable and toxic nature of fuel which is prolonged as
the exhaust contains the toxicity of the fuel in the form of gas. Based on the previously mentioned
safety synopsis it was concluded that in terms of safety the preferred system was selected to be electric.

34

The second consideration between the electric and mechanical system included the
maintenance requirements of each system. In the case of the electric system the main consideration
goes back to proper care toward the LiPo batteries and motor. For instance, properly charging the
batteries and not overloading the motor in terms of heat nor voltage. In the case of the engines it is
important to follow a pre-flight and after flight procedure. For example, prior to take off it is important
to fuel and warm up the engine. Furthermore, upon landing it is imperative to completely drain the
engine and insert some oil to avoid corrosion. Thus, in terms of maintenance the electrical system again
represented the best choice.
The third consideration between the electric and mechanical propulsion system was the overall
size. As previously mentioned the main components in an electrical system include the electric brushless
outrunner motor, the electric speed control (ESC), and LiPo battery. The dimension of the 350 rpm/V
brushless outrunner motor is 50mm x 65mm with an 8mm diameter. The dimensions of the ESC is
52mm x 34mm x 20mm. The dimension of a 5000mAh LiPo battery is 140mm x 51mm x 39mm. It should
be noted that in order to obtained a minimum of 30 minutes flight time the aircraft should
accommodate qty 2 LiPo 5000mAh batteries. A comparable mechanical propulsion system with a
minimum 30 minute flight time consists of a 0.61 cubic inch 2 stroke engine with mounting dimension of
44mm x 17.5mm and a 32oz~907gram gas tank with dimensions of 177mm x 85mm x 82mm. Without
including the required muffler for exhaust the engine system already supersedes the dimension of the
electrical system in its entirety. For this reason the electrical system once again embodies the optimal
choice in terms of size and compactness.
The fourth consideration between the electric and mechanical propulsion system was the power
to weight ratio. In the case of electric systems the average power to weight ratio is 5.68 kW/kg while in

35

the case of engines the average power to weight ratio is 2.8 kW/kg. In this scenario the engine notably
exceeds the performance of the electric system. The flight time, which is a significant motivator within
this design, favors the mechanical system. It should be noted that electric systems are becoming more
and more competitive in terms of power to weight ratios. Nonetheless, in terms of power to weight
ratios engines are still more efficient and provide longer flight times.
The fifth consideration between the electric and mechanical propulsion system was the
miscellaneous disturbances such as vibration and resonance/noise, which negatively affect the
reconnaissance and stealth aspect of the UAV design. In the case of electric propulsion system vibration
and noise is significantly lower than that of a glow or gas engine. Investigation into engine types also
revealed that noise and vibration is particularly higher in 2 stoke engines as compared to 4 stroke
engines. Regardless, the mechanical vibrations generated are too significant to be neglected. Therefore,
in terms of vibration and noise disturbances the electrical system is deemed more efficient.
The last consideration between the electric and mechanical propulsion system was the overall
cost of implementation. For the case of the electric system the cost includes an initial investment of
approximately $200 that includes a 350rpm/V brushless motor (outrunner), its respective electric speed
control, two 5000mAh LiPo batteries and a LiPo battery charger. For the case of a glow engine the initial
investment is about $190 and it includes a 2-stroke 0.61 cu in nitro engine, a 32oz gas tank, 2 gallon of
fuel and an exhaust pipe. It should be noted that in the case of an electric system frequent purchases of
fuel are avoided due to the rechargeable nature of LiPo batteries. Hence, the total cost of the engine
propulsion system over the span of a year would actually be $190 plus the cost of additional fuel needed
throughout the use of the aircraft. It should also be noted that gas engines were ignored due to the

36

significantly higher cost and lower efficiencies as compared to its nitro and electric counterparts. For this
reason, the electric system is the best option in terms of cost over a year of aircraft usage.
3. Design Alternatives
3.1 Overview
After assessing aspects of existing RC plane alternatives in the market such as the tail
positioning, fuselage structure, wing configuration and airfoil it was decided to narrow down the design
to a conventional tail and straight wing design with lightening features and enhanced aerodynamics
such that readily aircrafts could serve as a point of comparison in terms of flight time and similar
manufacturing procedures could be followed. Various encounters with RC plane hobbyists provided
immense feedback in terms of the ease of use and performance of numerous popular models in the
market. There were many mixed feelings with respect to electric vs. nitro aircrafts where the only
predominant feature of a nitro engine over that of an electric was its duration and somewhat lower
cost. In aims to make electric a bit more competitive as compared to nitro powered aircrafts it is
important to note the various design enhancements proposed below.
3.2 Design Alternative 1
Figure 8: Design Alternative 1 displays the preliminary design of the UAV with a straight wing
design and a streamlined fuselage .This design entails a fully symmetrical airfoil shaped fuselage such
that the fuselage would cause the least amount of drag as possible. The advantages of this design
include a fuselage that provided the proper airfoil like shape could potentially give additional lift to the
structure. Among the disadvantages include the construction of an airfoil shaped fuselage. The
construction feasibility of this design is very low due to the highly curved leading edge of the fuselage
and a potentially conflictive motor placement region.

37


Figure 8: Design Alternative 1
3.3 Design Alternative 2
Figure 9: Alternative Design 2 displays a combination between a rounded nose common to many
popular models in the industry and a flat plate surface as a more viable alternative in terms of
manufacturing. It also aims at reducing dead weight by removing a portion of the fuselage. In terms of
aerodynamics the fuselage still presents airfoil like features and provides a frontal region which can be
used to reinforce the motor. The middle wing design is considered to provide the benefit of compact
transportability yet stability is reduced. Furthermore additional reinforcements must be considered on
the sides of the aircraft to sustain securely the wings on the fuselage. These reinforcements may reduce
the usable space for the electrical components on the aircraft and increase the weight of the aircraft.

Figure 9: Alternative Design 2

38

3.4 Design Alternative 3
Figure 10: Alternative Design 3 displays a concept aimed at reducing dead weight in the rear of
the UAV such that only the necessary components are included in a minimal section of the fuselage.
Proposed design is in some ways like a powered glider in that the wing span is very long while the
fuselage proposed is minimal. Still, the design entails carrying an electrical payload historically carried by
a trainer RC aircraft that can hold immense amounts of weight yet proves excessive and wasteful for
such minor loads.

Figure 10: Alternative Design 3
3.5 Feasibility Assessment
Table 7: Feasibility Assessment displays a general overview related to the main figures of merit
evaluated as desirable. The main differences between each alternative design are the fuselage and wing
configurations. As previously mentioned the top wing configuration was considered most appropriate
from the beginning because it presents desirable stability characteristics, undisturbed access or
interruption to any kind of camera mounting and best of all it allows for rapid assembly and
disassembly.


39

Table 7: Feasibility Assessment
√=Preferred Aerodynamics Construction Stability and
Control
Total (tally)
Design
Alternative 1
√√√ √ √√ 6
Design
Alternative 2
√√ √√ √√ 6
Design
Alternative 3
√√√ √√ √√ 7

The airfoil selection of a high lift airfoil with sufficient wing loading for the communication,
control and reconnaissance components of the aircraft is a major component of the UAV design. Still,
another equally important design consideration undertaken was that of the optimal propulsion system
for the aircraft. While maintaining the motivation of a reconnaissance mission ready aircraft present the
main the deciding factors for the propulsion system were influenced by a comparison of the safety,
maintenance, size, power/weight ratio, miscellaneous disturbances and cost of a mechanical system vs.
an electric system. In the case of a mechanical propulsion system the components include an engine (2-
stroke or 4-stroke), exhaust pipe, fuel tank and propeller. An additional consideration in the case of a
mechanical system is the type of fuel which could vary from gasoline to nitro methane, popularly known
as glow fuel, as a power source. In the case of an electric propulsion system the components include an

40

electric motor, a propeller, and lithium polymer batteries as the power source. Table 9 displays a side to
side feasibility assessment of the propulsion system selection.
Table 8: Side to Side Propulsion System Comparison
√=Preferred Electric √√√√√√√ Glow Engine√√ Gas Engine X
Maintenance Required Medium√ High High
Size (compactness) Small√ Large Large
Weight (g) ~1052√ ~1628 2000+
Power/ Weight ratio ~5.68 kW/kg ~2.8 kW/kg√ ~3.2 kW/kg
Vibration Low√ High High
Noise Low√ High High
Plug and Play Feature Yes√ No No
Min. Initial Cost ~$200 ~$190√ $300+
Environmental Impact Low√ High High
3.6 Proposed Design
The proposed design is alternative 3. Many additional considerations must be taken into
account since the design involves resourceful means of improving the efficiency of a seemingly
conventional aircraft model to achieve both a low cost and high performance solution to unmanned

41

aircraft platforms. Since stability is a major factor in for uninterrupted clear imagery the aircraft is
proposed to have stability enhancement features such as dihedral and wing tips in the final design as
specified in table
Table 9: Proposed Design Specs
Configuration Selected
Type: (power plant) Electric
Wing type: Straight
Wing Position: Top
Empennage type: Conventional
Fuselage: Fraction
Features: Dihedral & Wing Tips


Figure 11: Proposed design
4. Project Management Project Management
4.1 Overview
The aerobots@fiu team consists of 7 members who consist of 3 mechanical engineering
students, 3 electrical engineering students and a pilot. The team structure seen in figure 24 aims to

42

create optimal work and collaboration. There are primarily five sections; Aerodynamics, Structure,
Propulsion, Communications and Autopilot. In charge of the mechanical group is a graduate advisor who
reviews progress of the aircraft design and keeps the team on a timely schedule. In charge of the
electrical group there is a pilot who aids in testing equipment and troubleshooting if necessary. The
logistics and fundraising leader ensures components arrive in a timely basis, schedules meeting times
between the teams and facilitates system integration.
4.2 Work Breakdown
The roles of the group advisors and the students involved in the AUVSI SUAS 2011 competition is
completely outlined in Table 10: Work Breakdown-Into Specific Tasks. In terms of the work break down
amongst the mechanical senior design team the following divisions where made amongst the team:
Seyed Maysam Alavi and Natalia Alejandra Posada were in charge of aerodynamic calculations and
Simulations of wing and empennage structure. Seyed worked on wing and empennage, stability analysis,
structural simulations and construction while Natalia worked on the propulsion system, aerodynamic
simulations, fundraising, construction and report editing. Ana Puente was in charge of the electrical
system, fuselage design, drawings and assembly such that it could accommodate the electrical
components. Ana was also in charge of the camera mounting bracket design and assembly.
Table 10: Work Breakdown-Into Specific Tasks

43



44

4.3 Gantt Chart

Figure 12: Gantt chart

45


Table 11: Work Breakdown
Title Name
Faculty Advisor Dr. Tansel
Graduate Advisor Javier Palencia
Aerodynamics Leader Seyed Alavi
Structure Leader Ana Puente
Propulsion Leader Natalia Posada
Communications Leader Hassan Chaudary
Autopilot Leader Viurniel Sanchez
Logistics and Fundraising Natalia Posada
Pilot Javier Villareal

46

5. Engineering Design and Analysis
5.1 Aerodynamic Design and Analysis
5.1.1 Introduction
The four principal forces related to flight are lift, drag, thrust and gravity. In order to understand
the physical meaning of each of these forces please see Figure 13: Basic Forces on Airplane

Figure 13: Basic Forces on Airplane
Lift is the main force needed to maintain an aerial system in the air. It is a force that is created
with the interaction of fluid flow and a surface like a wing. In order for an aircraft to stay aloft the lift
forces must be greater than the gravitational force pulling the aircraft down due to its weight. It is
important to note that unlike gravitational forces that take place with or without the incidence of
movement lift forces require the fluid flow. Hence, it is clear to see that lift and gravity are opposing
forces that play an integral role in aircraft design. The lift force component is mainly influenced by the
aerodynamic qualities of airfoils and can change drastically to accommodate or equip aircrafts with a
variety of functions like mobility, speed, or gliding depending on the purpose the aircraft.



47

Equation 1: Lift Coefficient
2
1
2
L
L
C
µv
=

Drag force on the other hand behaves similar to a resistance. In the case of aircrafts drag is the
resistance to forward movement through air. Like lift, drag is generated and also requires the interaction
of a fluid and a surface through movement. Drag, a typically undesired force in aerodynamics, is caused
by different factors. Due to the nature of our design the main drag coefficients monitored are the lift
induced drag and parasitic drag. Additional drag components which are mainly considered at high
speeds include: wave drag and ram drag.
Figure 14: Total drag vs. Airspeed displays the effect of airspeed on drag which clearly shows that as
speed increases induced drag decreases.

Figure 14: Total drag vs. Airspeed
For most aircrafts thrust is caused by propellers that push or as the term indicates thrusts the air
back. Thrust for rockets and other vertical take-off vehicles are accomplished with different methods yet
the thrust force in essence is simply the force pushing the aircraft in the forward direction.

48

It ought to be noted that drag varies due to parameters like wing shape, angle of attack, effects
of air viscosity and compressibility but for very low speeds the compressibility effects of air are
negligible.
Equation 2: Coefficient of Drag
2
1
2
D
D
C
µv
=

Equation 3: Reynolds Number
Re
x µ v
µ
· ·
·
=

Equation 4: Shear Stress displays the calculation for shear stress on the lifting surface (wing) which is
dependent on the dynamic pressure and Reynolds number.
Equation 4: Shear Stress
0.664
Re
q
t
·
=

Remember L is the lift, CL is the coefficient of lift, α is the angle of attack and AR is the aspect ratio
which varies with the wing geometry.
5.2 Wing Geometry Parameters
Table 12: Aspect Ratio for Varying Wing Geometries
Rectangular Wing Swept Wing Elliptical Wing

49




2
b
AR=
S

b
AR=
c

2
b
AR=
S

- Take off velocity: The velocity needed for a vehicle to become airborne such that the lift force defeats the
forces due to weight and drag keeping the vehicle on the ground.
- Cruise Velocity: The velocity once the vehicle is airborne and in steady flight.
- Wing Loading: The ratio between the loaded weight of the aircraft and the surface area of the wing.
- Span: The lateral distance from one tip to the other of the wing.
- Chord: The length between the leading edge and trailing edge of an airfoil with constant span.
- Mean aerodynamic chord: The median chord length obtained from a wing whose chord length changes
span wise.
- Aerodynamic Center: The location on the wing where pitching moment coefficient remains constant
despite variations of the lift coefficient or angle of attack.
- Center of Gravity (CG): The center of the airplane weight distribution.

Figure 15: Basic wing geometry

50

5.3 Initial Weight Estimation
The first step to make an accurate prediction of the aircraft design is to calculate the maximum
take-off weight. The designs for various parts of the airplane are depended on this fundamental factor.
Considering that the maximum take-off gross weight of the aircraft ( ) can be found by adding the
empty weight ( ), payload weight ( ), crew weight ( ) and fuel weight ( ) as seen
in Equation 9 we can obtain a fair estimation of the weight necessary to take off.
Equation 5: Preliminary Takeoff Weight
0 empty payload fuel
W W W W = + +
Based on the design requirement, the payload and crew weight are always known parameters.
Therefore, the total take-off weight can be found from:
Equation 6: Actual Takeoff Weight
0
0 0
1 ( ) ( )
payload
fuel empty
W
W
W W
W W
=
÷ ÷

Since the nature of our design is to develop an unmanned aerial vehicle the crew weight of our aircraft
is negligible.




51

Table 13: Projected Total Payload
Components Weight
Motor Brushless Outrunner (g) 414
ESC-Electronic Speed Control (g) 60
LiPo 4200 mAh (g) 578
Lumix Panasonic Camera (g) 154
Reciever battery (g) 5
Reciever (g) 17.58
Micropilot (g) 28
Max No Load Weight of Plane (g) 2000
Miscellaneous extra weight (g) 200
Total Projected Weight (g) 3456.58
5.4 Wing Loading
In the UAV design it is important to keep in mind that the maximum allowable aircraft takeoff
weight is 55lbs. After calculations of the initial airplane weight, it is important to determine the wing
loading. The wing loading is the ratio of the wing surface area to the weight of the airplane. The wing
loading (W/S) can be measured in lbs/ft
2
or N/m
2
in SI unit. In addition, it is important to consider that
the higher wing loading, the higher the stall speeds. This is the main reason that trainer aircrafts have
lower wing loading. At the same, the higher wing loading is suitable for acrobatic aircrafts. A UAV that
meets the requirements of the mission is to be designed to fly at slow speed in order to capture high
quality images; it is also preferred to have an airplane with lower wing loading. Furthermore, there are
many crucial parameters that are defined as a function of wing loading. For instance, the power

52

requirement, cruise and take-off velocity, take-off and landing distance are determined as a function of
wing loading.
This leads us to another important consideration which is the takeoff velocity. The takeoff
velocity as previously mentioned is the velocity needed for a vehicle to become airborne such that the
lift force defeats the forces due to weight and drag keeping the vehicle on the ground. The takeoff
velocity, V
To
, is simply a function of the cruise velocity, V
s
, of the aircraft such that V
To
= 1.2* Vs.
Furthermore, cruise velocity can be described as the airborne velocity of the aircraft and based on the
wing loading, air density, and maximum lift coefficient.
Equation 7: Cruise Velocity
1/2
s
Lmax
W 2
=[( )( )]
S C
v
µ

5.4.1 Aspect Ratio
The aspect ratio can be defined as the length of the wing span (b) divided by the average length
of the mean chord (c) for a rectangular wing shape. In general, the aspect ratio is defined by square of
span divided by wing area. In other words, the aspect ratio defines how long and slender a wing is from
tip to tip. Remember the aspect ratio for non rectangular wings is defined as follows AR=b
2
/S and the
aspect ratio for rectangular wings is AR=b/c. A high aspect ratio wing can be defined as a long, narrow
wing suitable for low-speed flight. The aspect ratios of wings vary in terms of their applications toward
efficiency, sturdiness and levels of maneuverability.
One of the main considerations for wing development includes maintaining a balance and
efficient lift to drag ratio while maintaining sturdiness. A high aspect ratio wing tends to be more

53

efficient at low- speeds because it generate more lift as the chord length decreases. In addition, the
high aspect ratio wing has less induced drag while it generates more parasite drag. Furthermore, it can
use smaller motors and requires less landing and take-off distance as compared to a low aspect ratio
wing. It should be noted that structural considerations ought to influence the selection of high or low
aspect ratio wing. For example, a long wing span with small chord length needs more material and
bends more under the same load while a low aspect ratio wing is lighter and uses less material hence
hold less weight.
Another factor that ought to influence the design of the wing is the purpose in terms of
maneuverability. A wing with low aspect ratio has shown to be more suitable for aerobatic applications
while airplanes with high aspect ratio are typically designed for reconnaissance missions with expected
high altitude flight requirements. Hence, it was decided that a high aspect ratio wing type would suit
best the needs of the UAV design of this project.
5.5 Wing Design
Based on the pay load weight, airfoil, aspect ratio, take off velocity and location of the wing the
preliminary dimensions of the UAV have been summarized in the Table 14: Preliminary Dimension
Summary and are illustrated in Figure 16: Visual Aircraft Dimensions.

54


Figure 16: Visual Aircraft Dimensions
Table 14: Preliminary Dimension Summary
Description Location Dimensions-cm (Tol ± 1%) Dimensions-inches
a Distance: Propeller to leading edge ~30 11.75
b Wing Span ~188 74
c Chord Length ~30 11.75
d Aileron Length ~7.5 3
e Aileron Width ~46 18
f Distance: Trailing edge to empennage ~75 30
g Elevator area ~310 (cm
2
) 48in^2
Dihedral ~3°-5°

For rectangular wing, the wing area ) has been obtained by multiplying the wing span by
the chord length . Therefore, the wing planform area is determined to be 0.561 with an aspect
ratio of 6.3. By knowing the wing area value, the wing loading was calculated to be 93.98 N/S. In

55

addition, the take-off and cruise velocity are determined to be 14.86 m/s and 12.39 m/s respectively. It
should be noted that the maximum coefficient of lift at this stage was chosen to be 1. The summary of
these values is shown in the Table 15: Specifications and Performance Predictions.
Table 15: Specifications and Performance Predictions
Parameter Value
Wing Area 0.561 m
2

Aspect Ratio 6.3
Wing Loading 93.98 N/S
Take-off velocity 14.86 m/s
Cruise velocity 12.39 m/s
Stall Velocity 3.65 m/s

5.5.1 Airfoil Selection
The cross sectional shape of the wing is called the airfoil. The front of the airfoil which is tangent
to the lower and upper surface is identified as the leading edge while the back of the airfoil is defined as
the trailing edge. Sharp or nearly sharp leading edge airfoils are generally more suitable for supersonic
flow due to decrements of wave drag which occur during supersonic regimes. The longest straight line
from the trailing edge to the leading edge is defined as the chord length. The mean camber line is a
curvature line which is located between the upper and lower surface of the airfoil. This line is the
maximum distance between leading and trailing edge. Also, the maximum perpendicular distance
between the upper and lower chamber is called thickness. All these aerodynamic parameters are
illustrated in Figure 17: Airfoil Basics.

56


Figure 17: Airfoil Basics
Airfoils produce lift by changing the velocity of the air passing over and under itself. By changing
the airfoil angle of attack the air velocity changes as it travels slower over the top of the wing and travel
faster underneath the wing. Bernoulli’s law of pressure equation states that the lift is generated by the
pressure difference between the upper and lower surface of the airfoil. When the fluid passes through
the leading edge of the airfoil, it speeds up. This exerts less pressure on the top of the airfoil. The
Bernoulli law of pressure can be illustrated in Figure 18: Bernoulli's Law of Pressure.

Figure 18: Bernoulli's Law of Pressure
The performance of the airplane is associated with the airfoil selection. The lift force which is
produced by the wing and tail surfaces is directly related to the design of the airfoil. As a result, the
airfoil selection requires intensive computational efforts along with extensive research. For this matter,
it was decided to use two software packages Mark Drela’s XFoil and Profili. These two software packages
provide wide-ranging collection of airfoils along with useful sets of data such as coefficients of lift, drag
and moment.

57

It is extremely important to mention both these two software packages provide important
values for 2-Dimensional coefficients of lift, drag and moment as well as their relation to parameters
such as lift to drag ratios (L/D). The 2- Dimensional results are for infinite wings where the induced drag
and the wingtip vortexes are ignored. As a result, XFoil and Profili provided valuable information in
deciding the best airfoil for the application where the UAV in development yet it can never be enough
for the final wing design.
One of the most important parameter that affects the airfoil characteristics is the Reynolds
number. The Reynolds number is the function of velocity , the length of the fluid that has traveled
down the surface and the kinematic viscosity of the fluid ( . This relationship can be seen in
Equation 8: Reynolds Number.
Equation 8: Reynolds Number

The Reynolds number can determine whether the flow is laminar or turbulent. The value of
Reynolds number for the wing can be obtained by dimension of the chord length, flight altitude and the
airspeed.
Table 16: High lift airfoil evaluation parameters
Parameter Value
Flight Altitude (m) 229
Speed (m/s) 15
Chord length (cm) 30
Reynolds number 302567


58

Based on the value of Reynolds number, the entire set of low Reynolds number and high lift
airfoils was evaluated. It was determined that the FX 63-137, the Martin Hepperle MH 112, the Drela
DAE31 and CLARK Y airfoils will be carefully tested. This selection would consider parameters such as
airfoil lift and drag, pitching moment characteristics, Stall, the thickness of the airfoil for structural
purpose, ease of manufacturing.


Figure 19-Airfoil FX63-137


Figure 20-Airfoil MH 112


Figure 21-Airfoil DAE 31


Figure 22-Airfoil CLARK Y
In order to maximize the aerodynamic efficiency, the reconnaissance UAV should be designed
that flies close to its desired coefficient of lift. Thus, the first initial consideration in airfoil selection was
coefficient of lift. This is the lift coefficient which the airfoil provides the best lift to drag ratio (L/D). It
was determined that the FX 63-137 provides the highest coefficient of life while having the lowest
coefficient of drag. The coefficient of lift and drag at 6.6 degree angle of attack were determined to be
1.4743 and 0.0210 respectively.

59

Another important factor in airfoil selection is the stall characteristics. There are some airfoils
demonstrate slowly reduction in lift throughout a stall, while others exhibit a significant loss of lift, along
with a quick change in pitching moment. Thinner airfoils stall from leading edge while the thicker airfoils
stall from trailing edge. The FX 63-137 airfoil shows that has the lowest coefficient of moment among
the others.
The airfoil thickness has a direct effect on drag, maximum lift and structural weight. After
evaluating the characteristics of all airfoils, it was determined that the drag increase with increases of
the airfoil thickness. In addition, the maximum lift and stall characteristics were affected by the airfoil
thickness mainly by its effect on the nose shape. Furthermore, the structural weight of the wing is
completely depended to the thickness of the airfoil. By taking into account and evaluating all the
factors, it was determined that FX 63-137 has the lightest structural weight while provides the sturdiest
structure. The computational fluid dynamics studies confirm that FX 63-137 generates less wingtip
vortex than others. This result will be shown in the next section.
Figure 23: Coefficient of Lift and Drag vs. angle of attack for four different airfoils illustrate the
coefficient of lift and drag with respect to the angle of attack. Also, Figure 24: Coefficient of lift, drag and
moment, L/D and power factor for four airfoils with the respect to the angle of attack illustrates the lift
to drag ratio (L/D) and the coefficient of moment with the respect to the angle of attack.

60


Figure 23: Coefficient of Lift and Drag vs. angle of attack for four different airfoils

61


Figure 24: Coefficient of lift, drag and moment, L/D and power factor for four airfoils with the respect to
the angle of attack
Table 17: Airfoil comparison in terms of AoA, CL, Cd, Cm, L/D, and Power Factor shows a side to side
comparison of the airfoils evaluated. The best value of coefficient of lift, drag and moment, L/D and
power factor for all four airfoils with the respect to the angle of attack can be viewed.





62

Table 17: Airfoil comparison in terms of AoA, CL, Cd, Cm, L/D, and Power Factor



FX 63-137 DAE-31 MH-112 CLARK Y
AoA 6.6 7.2 7.2 5.4
C
L
1.4743 1.3546 1.3614 0.9422
C
D
0.021 0.0212 0.02585 0.01605
C
m
-0.173 -0.1259 -0.1355 -0.0722
L/D 70.2 63.8962 52.7674 58.8875
Power Factor 85.2432 74.3671 61.5685 57.1603

5.5.2 Dihedral Angle
Dihedral angle is the angle of the wing with the respect to the horizontal axis as seen in the
airplane’s front view. Dihedral angle enhances the stability of the airplane in both yaw and roll axis by
tends to roll airplane level when it is subject to a briefly slight roll displacement. After analyzing the Keel
and Pendulum effect and also obtaining historical values, it was decided that 5 degree angle of attack
provides sufficient stability for the UAV.

63

5.5.3 Wingtip


Winglet Wing tip
Figure 25: Winglets and Wingtips
Research and wing design analysis show that the straight rectangular wing creates a
considerably large vortex on the tip of the wing. This vortex is due to the higher air pressure on the
bottom of wing that escapes and goes around the tip to the top .In order to reduce the lateral spacing of
the tip vortices; it was decided to add the wingtip shape at the tip of the wing. A sharp edge tip doesn’t
permit the air flow easily around the tip. Therefore, it reduces the induced or pressure drag in the finite
wing.
The Hoerner wingtip,which is the most common low-drag wingtip in subsonic airplanes, was
selected. Hoerner wingtips have a sharp edge upper surface along with the lower surface under
cambered which is slanting roughly 45 degrees to the horizontal reference. The wing tip in Figure 26:
Wing Tip illustrates the design of wingtip which is connected to the last rib.

Figure 26: Wing Tip

64

5.5.4 Wing Location
As previously mentioned, based on the size of the wing span, structural analysis and
manufacturing cost, it was determined that the best location to mount the wing is the top of the
fuselage. This location provides a significant stability and control along with the ease of manufacturing
and attachment. Middle wing and lower wing configurations would interfere with the most important
payload components such as Micro pilot and camera and its mount respectively.
5.6 Empennage Design
Empennage or tail is a small wing which is designed to operate at a portion of its lift while the
wing is designed to carry an extensive amount of lift. However, the major task of empennage is to
provide trim, stability and control. Trim refers to balancing of the moment produce by lift forces acting
through tail’s moment arm with the respect to the center of gravity. The empennage design consisted
of vertical and horizontal tail. The horizontal stabilizer mostly balances the moment created by the wing.
Furthermore, the tail should provide sufficient control power during critical conditions. The critical
condition for the horizontal tail consists of low speed flight with elevator flap down and leading edge
nose liftoff. On the other hand for vertical tail the critical situation normally refers to maximum roll rate
and engine-out flight at low speed.
It is very important to mount the empennage in the appropriate location. For instance, the stall
characteristic of the airplane is directly related to the location of the horizontal tail. In Raymer’s Aircraft
Design book, the boundary of the acceptable locations for the horizontal tail is illustrated in figure 29.

65


Figure 27- Aft tail positioning, Raymer’s Aircraft Design pg 77
As it can be seen in Figure 27- Aft tail positioning, Raymer’s Aircraft Design pg 77, for subsonic flight it is
acceptable to have the tail approximately in line with the wing. Therefore, it was decided to have the
location of empennage in line with the wing.
5.6.1 Horizontal Tail
The dimension of the chord length and the span of the tail are directly proportional to the
surface area of the wing and the airplane take-off gross weight. The surface area of the horizontal
stabilizer was estimated by using the “Tail Volume Coefficient “method. This historical approach explains
that the moment generated by tail about the center of gravity is proportional to the force produced by
the tail and tail moment arm. In other words, the tail counters the moment which is generated by the
wing as previously mentioned. Therefore, there is a consistent relationship from the resultant ratio of

66

the tail area over the wing area. This mathematical relationship can be expressed in the equation
below.
Equation 9: Horizontal Stabilizer Coefficient

Where, is the distance from 25% of the mean chord length from trailing edge of the main
wing to the horizontal tail up to 25% of the its wing chord length. The wing chord length and wing
surface area are the known parameters at this stage. Therefore, by using the historical value for
horizontal stabilizer coefficient of volume ( ), equation above can be solve for the surface area of the
horizontal . The geometry of the horizontal tail can be seen in Table 18: Empennage Parameters
Table 18: Empennage Parameters



(m) (m
2
) (m) (m
2
)
Aspect
Ratio
Tail Span (m) Tail chord length (m)
0.5 0.29845

0.5609666 0.8763 0.095527 6 0.762

0.1524


5.6.2 Horizontal Airfoil Selection
There are two major considerations for selections of horizontal airfoil. First, the airfoil must
have an appropriate value of coefficient of moment to cancel the produced moment by wing. Second, it

67

needs to create the least amount of drag as possible while providing reasonable lift. After analyzing
entire airfoil database, it was determined that “RAF 30” has low C
D
value along with reasonable C
L
value.
Figure 3a below shows the shape and 2-D performance of this airfoil.

Figure 3 a: RAF 30



68

5.6.3 Vertical Tail
The wing yawing moments is directly related to the wing span. The purpose of the vertical stabilizer is to
provide sufficient stability and counter this moment in the yaw axis. This means that the vertical tail
prevents the airplane from skidding and unwanted turns in crosswind scenarios. The geometry and
dimension of the vertical stabilizer was obtained from “Tail Volume Coefficient “method. This
relationship in vertical tail can be seen in Equation 10
Equation 10: Vertical Stabilizer Equation

Where, and are the wing span and surface area respectively.” ” is defined as the
distance from quarter of the mean chord length from leading back of the horizontal tail to the 25% of
the wing chord. Thus, by using the historical value for vertical stabilizer coefficient of volume ( ),
equation above can be solved for the surface area of the vertical . The geometry of the vertical tail is
illustrated in Table 19: Vertical Stabilizer Parameters.
Table 19: Vertical Stabilizer Parameters

(m) (m
2
) (m) (m
2
) Aspect
Ratio
Tapered
Ratio
Tail span
(m)
Root
span
(m)
Tip tail
(m)
Sweep
Angle
0.04 1.8796

0.5609

0.9016 0.0467 1.5 0.4 0.254

0.1524

0.1016

35

69

5.6.4 Vertical Airfoil Selection
The vertical tail doesn’t produce lift. Therefore, the airfoil selection was based on the smallest
drag C
D
value. After analyzing entire airfoil database, it was decided to use NACA 0012 airfoil, which
illustrates very low drag C
D
value. The following figures shows the shape and 2-D performance of this
airfoil.

Figure 3 b


70

5.7 Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)
5.7.1 Computational Fluid Dynamics 3-Dimensional
One of the most useful computational fluid dynamic tools for analysis in 3 dimensions was Open
Foam. This software contains various open source code solvers which can be edited to accommodate a
broad range of scenarios by modifying specific parameters in accordance with the specific setting under
analysis. For analysis over the full wing airfoil FX 63-137 selected due the early stages of research using
Profili & Xfoil the simpleFoam solver was used. Open Foam software uses an implicit solution to the
Navier Stokes Equations in order to calculate the pressure and velocity distributions around specific
components inserted in open foam under stl format which can be obtained from solidworks.
In order to use openFoam it is important to first partition a section of the computer that will be
used to include a linux interface if not done so already. OpenFoam can only be run by a terminal window
in the linux interface.
To begin the analysis a specific folder called “simulations” was created to contain each possible
simulation scenario used for the UAV design. Each folder had two additional folders. One represented
parameters for meshing around an imported part such as the wing, fuselage and empennage. The first
folder also contained a file in which one could create a concentrated mesh around regions on any given
surface of the predefined part for improved analysis. The second folder represented the solver which
included the solver which equates values of interest such as the pressure and velocity distributions
around the predefined object. The objects inserted in open foam during our analysis included multiple
airfoils in order to select an airfoil with superior 3D lift coefficients and minimal drag and moment

71

coefficients. The following are a few basic procedures with special notes/tips on how to properly run a
3D simulation on open Foam.
5.7.2 Mesh Generation Details
To obtain an adequate computational domain the mesh box was sized around the selected 3
dimensional wing such that there was sufficient distance around the tips of the wing, the leading edge of
the wing, trailing edge of the wing and about and below the surfaces of the airfoil.
3D Full Wing Bounds
X range 11.4 to 1.89e+3 (delta 1.88e+03)
Y range 194 to 237 (delta 43.1)
Z range 808 to 1.11e+03 (delta 298)

Figure 28: Block Mesh shows the resultant mesh box around the wing. The amount of grids can be
rapidly modified and refined to obtain more accurate results.

72


Figure 28: Block Mesh
Figure 29: Coarse Concentrated Mesh on Wing displays the preliminary coarse mesh which provided a
rapid calculation of the 3 dimensional performance of the selected FX 63-127 airfoil. The tip of the wing
displays uneven blocks that during the solver step of the simulation significantly decreased the lift
coefficient. The simulation using the coarse mesh for the FX 63-127 airfoil resulted in a coefficient of lift
of 0.53.

Figure 29: Coarse Concentrated Mesh on Wing

73

Figure 30: Refined Concentrated Mesh on Wing displays a second level of refinement. The level
of refinement can be tuned within the snappyHexmesh file. The (1E15,3) on the concentration and
Level 4,5 on the surface of the wing. Higher levels of refinement are achievable yet require higher
computational resources and time. As displayed the FX 63-137 airfoil achieved coefficient of lift 0.677 in
the 3D simulation using a finer mesh. Nearly a 28% increase through 1 level of refinement is significant.

Figure 30: Refined Concentrated Mesh on Wing
5.7.3 SimpleFoam Solver
The solver in open foam was set to run up to 500 time steps. The drag, lift and moment coefficients at
time step 114 and time step 500 were very close. It can be observed that convergence was achieved by
time step 114. The input parameters for each case can be seen in Table 20: Input Parameters.




74

Table 20: Input Parameters
Parameter Value units
rhoInf (density) 1.2; Kg/m3
CofR (center of mass) ( 114.8 14.48 940.05 ); mm
liftDir (lift direction) ( 0 1 0 ); N/A
dragDir (drag direction) ( 0 0 -1 ); N/A
pitchAxis ( 1 0 0 ); N/A
magUInf (Airspeed) 14840; mm/s
Aref (Planform Area) 560966 mm^2
flowVelocity (0 0 -14800) mm/s

Figure 31: Final Open Foam Result Screenshot shows the final results force coefficient results based on
the predefined approximate parameters specified Table 20: Input Parameters

Figure 31: Final Open Foam Result Screenshot



75


Table 21: Force Coefficients- 3D Full wing Analysis at AOA 0
Airfoil FX 63-137 OpenFoam 3-D Profili 2-D
Cl (level 1) 0.52 ~0.9
Cl (level 2) 0.68 -
Cl (level 3) 0.72 -
25% difference 2D to3D
5.8 Results

Figure 32: Coarse Mesh Pressure Distribution
Figure 33: Pressure distribution around center of wing- DX63-137 airfoil displays the unrefined pressure
distribution around selected airfoil FX 63-137 which outperformed in terms of simulation during the 2

76

dimensional elimination processes in which it obtained a superior lift to drag ratio when compared to
afore mentioned airfoils.
Figure 34: Pressure distribution at wing tip of FX 63-137displays the pressure distribution around the
center portion of the wing where highest pressure occurs while figure 37 shows lower pressure around
the tip.

Figure 33: Pressure distribution around center of wing- DX63-137 airfoil



77


Figure 34: Pressure distribution at wing tip of FX 63-137
Figure 35: OpenFoam Result of 3D coarse mesh around fuselage represents a trial analysis with a course
mesh of the fuselage design. The resulting lift and drag coefficients appear negligibly low. Additional
simulations from solid works can be seen up to Figure 38: Velocity distribution around fuselage -
SolidWorks with tentative design consideration of removing a triangular cross-section in the trailing
edge of the fuselage.


Figure 35: OpenFoam Result of 3D coarse mesh around fuselage

78


Figure 36: Solidworks simulation around fuselage

The figure on the left is a 3D representation of the external incompressible viscous flow going around
the fuselage. The pressures are color coded to represent highest pressure concentrations, in the red
regions, and the lowest concentrations, in the dark blue regions. As expected the highest concentration
of pressure occurred at the leading edge of the fuselage with a pressure of 101.45 kPa. The cut in the
rear of the fuselage aims at streamlining the fuselage in order to lower the turbulent flow and reduce
the drag. Therefore, the fuselage shows a decrease in pressure represented by the light blue color.


Figure 37: Pressure distribution around fuselage-SolidWorks

79

Figure 37: Pressure distribution around fuselage-SolidWorks is a 2D representation of the pressure
showing that the highest pressure occurs at the leading edge with a low pressure at the back of the
fuselage body.

Figure 38: Velocity distribution around fuselage - SolidWorks
Figure 38: Velocity distribution around fuselage - SolidWorks above illustrates what occurs to the air
flow after hitting the stagnation point. After the free stream flow divides at the stagnation point, and
flows around the body, the fluid at the surface takes on the velocity of the body as a result of the no-slip
condition. In other words boundary layers form on both the upper and lower surfaces of the body
Equation 11: Total Payload
0 empty payload
W W W = +

Based on the design requirement, the payload, fuel and general weight are always known
parameters. Thus, updated Equation 11: Total Payload & Equation 12: Actual Takeoff Weight reflects the
method of estimating the total payload and actual takeoff weight respectively. Since the propulsion
system in use will be electric it is expected that the total weight will be equal to the takeoff weight.

80

Value Units
Estimated Total Weight 3456.58 g

Knowing an estimate of the weight of the aircraft and the takeoff and cruise velocity values
permits calculation of approximate horsepower requirements of the aircraft.
Equation 12: Actual Takeoff Weight
0
0
1 ( )
payload
empty
W
W
W
W
=
÷

In terms of aerodynamic performance of a wing, it is essential to pay attention to the geometric
limitation imposed on the aircraft. A helpful variable measurement of a wing is its aspect ratio (AR). As
previously mentioned, the aspect ratio can be defined as the length of the wing span (b) divided by the
average length of the mean chord (C) for a rectangular wing shape. In general, the aspect ratio is defined
by square of span divided by wing area. In other words, the aspect ratio defines how long and slender a
wing is from tip to tip. Remember the aspect ratio for non rectangular wings is defined as follows
AR=b
2
/S and the aspect ratio for rectangular wings is AR=b/c .
From Equation 13: Total Drag coefficient (no-load and load), it can be determined that the larger
wingspan length can produce more upward force (lift) compared to the smaller wingspan. In addition,
aerodynamic studies show that the smaller wingspan can produce more induced drag while having more
downward velocity. Also, it is noticeable that the magnitude of the aspect ratio is directly related to the

81

length of wingspan. As a result, the higher value of the aspect ratio of a wing can produce more lift and
decrease the induced drag. This result can be illustrated in the following equation:
Equation 13: Total Drag coefficient (no-load and load)

Based on the application of our UAV, it is crucial to have a stable wing which can provide a
useful amount of lift with a medium maneuverability capability. Research shows that the larger aspect
ratio has an inverse relationship with the maneuverability capability hence it is important to investigate
the relationship and obtain a value that satisfies high stability and medium maneuverability. Based on
our research the value ranging of aspect ratio for small general-aviation airplanes is from 6-10. By
considering all conditions above, the aspect ratio with the value of 8 was chosen at this stage.
In addition to the geometric limitations imposed on the aircraft it is also important to consider
the wing loading on the aircraft. The wing loading is the ratio between the loaded weight of the aircraft
and the surface area of the wing which is the span x chord length for a rectangular wing. In our UAV
design it is important to keep in mind that the maximum allowable aircraft takeoff weight is 55lbs. This
leads us to another important consideration which is the takeoff velocity. The takeoff velocity as
previously mentioned is the velocity needed for a vehicle to become airborne such that the lift force
defeats the forces due to weight and drag keeping the vehicle on the ground. The takeoff velocity, VTo,
is simply a function of the cruise velocity, Vs , of the aircraft such that VTo = 1.2* Vs. Furthermore, cruise
velocity can be described as the airborne velocity of the aircraft and based on the wing loading, air
density, and maximum lift coefficient as seen in Equation 14: Cruise Velocity.

82

Equation 14: Cruise Velocity
1/2
s
Lmax
W 2
=[( )( )]
S C
v
µ

5.9 Other Design Considerations
5.9.1 Motor Selection
The Motor and Propeller selection is based on various parameters namely the amount of thrust
required by the aircraft, the amount of clearance from the nose of the aircraft to the ground, ambient
temperature, expected flight altitudes, and projected lift to drag ratios. Specifically in the case of the
motor selection it is important to obtain a motor with sufficient takeoff power to lift the UAV platform
and maintain it in level cruise flight.
Equation 15: Statistical Estimation of Horsepower to Weight Ratio relationship

Equation 15: Statistical Estimation of Horsepower to Weight Ratio relationship represents a statitical
calculation which permits a theoretical estimataion of the horpower to weight relationship based on
typical class of aircrafts designed for efficiency during cruising. Table 20 displays the calculated take-off
and cruise velocity values used to calculation the minimum horsepower to weight ratios.
Table 22: Velocity Considerations
Velocity Considerations m/s
Take-off Velocity 14.84

83

Cruise Velocity 12.9

Values “a” and “c” represent calibration coefficients which vary based on the material of the aircraft and
are only valid for aircrafts designed for average cruise speeds.

The following display the resulting minimum power requirements for take-off and cruising in
units of horsepower and watts. The values are calculated taking into consideration the expected lift to
drag ratio, cruise velocity, average takeoff horsepower, average cruise horsepower and expected weight.
Table 23: Take-off parameters
Results Values
Minimum take-off (hp/W) ratio 0.361044
Minimum take-off (hp) 0.095196
Minimum take-off power (Watts) 70.98736

Since an electric system will be utilized instead of a fuel powered system the expected takeoff weight and
cruising weight is equal and thus its ratio goes to 1 as shown in equation 16 .

Equation 16: Horsepower to Weight ratio

1

84

5.9.2 Propeller selection
In general a large diameter propeller has better efficiency overall. Still there are a few limiting
factors such as tip speed and ground clearance. The aircrafts forward speed based on the propeller is
calculated by equation 20 in which n represent the rotational rate (rpm) and d represents the diameter
of the propeller.
Equation 17: Aircraft forward speed calculation


Typical propeller efficiency is 0.8 ). It should be noted that since the inner diameter of
the prop provides little thrust and thus a guiding cone (spinner) as seen in Figure 39: Spinner which
pushes the air toward more productive sections of the propeller will be utilized as a tool to increase the
efficiency of the propeller.

Figure 39: Spinner

85

Estimated 2-blade propeller diameter in terms of horsepower suggests a minimum propeller diameter of
12 inches.

Propeller

Alternative 1 12 in
Alternative 2 Selected 13 in
Alternative 3 17 in

5.10 Structural Design and Analysis
5.10.1 Introduction –Material Selection
The airplane structure consists primarily of the wing, fuselage, empennage, power plant and
landing gear. The structure design of each component is primarily based on ease of manufacturing,
material cost, factor of safety and modularity. In addition, all structural components were designed to
achieve the original design objectives such as, stability and increasing flight time. In the following
sections, each component structure and its simulation analysis will be explained in details.
5.10.2 Wing
Based on the weight and cost of the material, it was decided to use balsa wood ribs and hollow
carbon fiber spar bars for the wing structure. As it was mentioned in previous section, the wing has a

86

straight rectangular geometry. Figure 40: Dihedral illustrates the geometry of the balsa wood material
wing.

Figure 40: Dihedral

The wing is consisted of two symmetrical parts that has the same airfoil. This means that the
physical geometry of the ribs is the same at each section. Also, since there is no tapered section in the
wing design, the ribs have the same dimension across the wing. The majority of the weight in need of
support is held by the wing spar bars. There are two circular cross section carbon fiber spar bars in the
wing. These two spar bar provide the rigidity needed for the wing to fly safely. Initially the force may be
transmitted from skin to the ribs and later to the spar bar. Thus, the entire load carried by the wing is
eventually taken by the spars.
Thus, it was determined that a carbon fiber wing spar with outer diameter of 9.53mm (3/8”
inch) is a suitable reinforcement for the forces generated by the weight of the airplane and additional
payload. The selection of the material was based on weight, strength and stiffness of the material. Also,

87

researches show that carbon fiber has less resistance to impact loads when compared to aluminum or
other composite material.
In order to assure that stiffness and strength of wing spars, static analysis with Cosmosworks
was performed on the 183 cm (74 inch) spars. The force which is generated by the wing is set to 60N
and it was distributed along the surface of carbon fiber spar. The sections in which the spar bars were
attached to the fuselage were set as fixed geometries. Figure 41: Deflection Analysis illustrates the
restrained sections and the direction of the force in the spar bar.

Figure 41: Deflection Analysis
The factor of the safety and the deflection are shown in the Figure 41: Deflection Analysis and Figure 42:
Deflection Analysis –Factor of Safety respectively.

88


Figure 42: Deflection Analysis –Factor of Safety

Figure 43: Deflection Analysis-Static Displacement

89

The factor of safety value for just one single spar bar was obtained 1.25. By knowing that the
60N force will be applied along with two spar bars, it was determined that the spar will not fail under
any circumstances.
The construction of the wing design consists of 26 balsa wood ribs and 4 carbon fiber spar bars.
The designed ribs integrate the airfoil shape of the wing and the skin implements this shape when
extended over the ribs. Figure 44: Wing Rib Structure illustrates the graphical reorientation of the wing
structure.

Figure 44: Wing Rib Structure
Even though the balsa wood ribs are very light material, it was decided to add more lightening
holes in the designed ribs to achieve the lowest possible weight. There are two airfoil shape lightening

90

hole in the front and back of the rib and one small circular shape hole located at the end. Figure 45:
Wing Rib Structuregives a graphical reorientation of the rib’s design.

Figure 45: Wing Rib Structure
5.10.3 Fuselage Structure
One major component to consider, when designing the aircraft, is the fuselage. The fuselage is
what will carry the equipment needed for the competition. These involve the electrical components
such as the batteries, autopilot system, servos, motor, and the camera. All these components must be
carefully placed within the fuselage while taking the center of gravity, C.G., into consideration. Analysis
and research has determined that what will most improve the efficiency of the aircraft is the airfoil.
The aircraft structure that will be modeled will be the semi-monocoque system. This is a
common structure used in many RC planes but it is also a better structure needed to protect the
equipment that the aircraft will carry during the competition. This uses a substructure to which the
airplane’s skin is attached. It also consists of a frame structure called the bulkhead and a few stringers.
Please see Figure 50 for more details.

91


Figure 46: Semi-Monocoque [18]
5.10.4 Fuselage Design
Aircrafts, where payload is the most important parameter, the fineness ratio is an important
calculation to obtain. This value may vary from 0.10 to .16 (10 ≤ l/d ≤ 16) since it takes the length of the
aircraft over the diameter, 1422.4 millimeters divided by 88.9 millimeters, equaling 16. This fineness
ratio is significantly higher than that of the recommended 4.5. However, if the fuselage length were
reduced it would require larger controls, which would create more drag and offset the C.G. This would
also mess with the stability of the aircraft and would hinder the tendency of the aircraft to stabilize itself
once disturbed. The preferred material for the fuselage body is balsa wood do its light weight feature
but yet strong attributes.
Table 24: Center of Gravity Calculation displays the estimated center of gravity calculation based
on the projected position in which each component was placed on the design afore mentioned. The
center of gravity is a critical component of the design. During testing the actual weight component is
obtained to acquire a more precise center of gravity calculation. The estimation considers the datum or
reference line as the leading edge of the aircraft.



92





Table 24: Center of Gravity Calculation
Components Estimated Weight (lbs) Moment Arm (in) Moment
Vertical stabilizer 0.04 50.5 2.02
Horizontal stabilizer 0.12 48 5.76
Boom 0.3 33.5 10.05
Fuselage 2.3 11 25.3
Landing gear 1 10 10
Wing 0.94 15 14.1
Motor 0.4 0 0
Empennage servos(2) 0.24 20 -4.8
Battery 1 10 10
Electrical components 0.06 16 0.96
Camera 1.2 10 12
ΣW= 7.6 ΣM=85.39

CG= (ΣM/ΣW) 11.23552632in
Datum Line
Ex. moment arm

93



5.10.5 Electrical components
The electrical equipment affects the structure of the fuselage due to the C.G. the following components,
after research and testing, have been selected according to the needs of the competition: micro pilot,
batteries, and camera.
Figure 49 shows one of the batteries that will be on board the aircraft, LiPo (Lithium Polymer) batteries.

Figure 47: LiPo Batteries
The orderly organization of the electrical components was a main consideration when designing
the interior of the fuselage. In addition to easing the visual organization the design also makes
provisions to have easy access to all the principal components. Please see Figure 53 for the final design.

1
2
3
4
5
Receiver Micro pilot
Battery Battery

94

Figure 48: Proposed Layout-Side View
Side View

Figure 49: Proposed Layout- Top View
Finally, one of the most important electrical components needed to achieve the mission is the
camera. The Panasonic–Lumix camera was chosen due to its ability to take clear pictures and shock
resistance feature. Figure 50: Camera shows a physical representation of the camera drawn in
solidworks and figure 56 is a sample picture taken by the camera during a test run with an OTS RC plane.

Figure 50: Camera

95


Figure 51: Test: Aerial Picture at 5 Mega Pixels
As previously mentioned, in order to provide the camera with much needed mobility the team
opted for an external camera mount. After analysis and placement of important electrical components
it was clear that the optimal location for the camera bracket was near the nose of the aircraft. To make
the aircraft as light as possible the boom of the aircraft was removed and replaced with a hollow carbon
fiber rod placed under analysis to make sure it could support the stresses it would be exposed to. The
most important benefit in placing the camera outside was the maneuverability. The figure below shows
the main position the camera will have while in flight.

Figure 52: Camera Mount-View underneath the plane

96

Figure 53: Camera Mount Side Viewbelow shows the maneuverability of the camera mount. The case
enclosing the camera is projected to be plexi glass type material but based on market availability may be
a light weight plastic structure that encloses the camera snugly and can be adapted to the bracket
structure.

Figure 53: Camera Mount Side View
The bolts chosen to fasten the camera mount were the “indented hexagon washer head.” These bolts
have a washer section at the base of the head, as shown in the figure below, which protects the finish of
the assembly from wrench disfigurement, and to economically replace a separate bolt and washer
assembly.

Figure 54: Standard OTS bolts and nut assembly

97

Furthermore, the corner braces selected to attach the flat metal plates to the camera case are readily
available zinc plated with a minimal cost of $2.27 for a pack of 4. Below is a figure of the actual corner
brace with its specifications.

Figure 55: OTS Corner Brace
Specifications of Corner Brace
Parameter Value
Weight 0.075 lb.
Height 1.0 in
Thickness 0.0625 in
Material Steel (Zinc plated)
Width 0.5 in

The flat plates that will mount the camera to the UAV are galvanized mending plates with a cost of $3.59
for a pack of two. Below is a picture of the actual metal plate with its specifications.

98


Figure 56: OTS Plate for camera bracket
Specifications of flat metal plates
Parameters Values
Weight 0.1 lb
Height 3.0 in
Thickness 0.06 in
Material Galvanized Steel
Width 0.75 in
These two components were chosen because of the light weight feature and that they were
galvanized and zinc plated. Galvanized and zinc plated steel is an economical way to prevent it from
rusting and allows these products to last for a very long time while having outdoor exposure.
The placement of the camera was determined by measuring the C.G. of the UAV while the other
components were inside the fuselage. Figure 57: Frontal Proposed Design Assembly shows the
conceptual design of the aircraft with the extended camera bracket.

99


Figure 57: Frontal Proposed Design Assembly
5.11 Empennage Assembly Design
Figure 58: Rear Landing Gear displays the off the shelf rear landing gear assembly which will be
connected rear center of the UAV by two bolts.

Figure 58: Rear Landing Gear

100

Figure 59 and 60 displays the views of the connector assemblies considered which connect the nose and
tail of the UAV.

Figure 59: Connector Boom Assembly Alternative 1


Figure 60: Connector Boom Assembly Alternative 2 (Selected)

Figure 61 displays the off the shelf (OTS) shaft connector considered for the connector assembly of the
fuselage and the empennage.

101


Figure 61: Shaft connector
Figure 62 displays the horizontal stabilizer assembly with 11 ribs with 0.375in thickness. It also displays
its corresponsiding airfoil RAF 30.

Figure 62: Horizontal Stabilizer Assembly
Figure 63 displays the vertical stabilizer assembly with 5 ribs of 0.375 thicknesses and the corresponding
symmetric NACA 0012 airfoil.

102


Figure 63: Vertical Stabilizer Assembly
Figure 64 displays Alternative 1 of the full empennage assembly uniting the vertical stabilizers,
horizontal stabilizers and the connector assembly to the fuselage.
Figure 65 displays Alternative 2 of the full empennage assembly uniting the vertical stabilizers,
horizontal stabilizers and the connector assembly to the fuselage.


Figure 64: Empennage Assembly Alternative 1


103


Figure 65: Empennage Assembly Alternative 2

5.12 Landing Gear
Landing gear design is considered to be one of the most fundamental aspects of airplane. The
design and incorporation process includes several engineering disciplines such as structure, weight and
economics. There are several landing gear arrangements in aerodynamics books such as “single main”,
“taildragger” and “bicycle” landing gear. It was decided to use “tail dragger” landing which has to main
wheel forward close to the center of gravity and one auxiliary when at the empennage. Taildragger
landing gear provides more clearance for the propeller and has less drag and weight. Also, it allows the
wing to produce more lift.
In order to achieve the lowest possible weight along with durable structure, a static analysis was
performed on both rectangular and circular cross landing gear. The rectangular cross section was set to
be 50.8 x 6.35 mm (2 x 0.25 inch) and the diameter of circular cross section was set to be 9.53mm (3/8”
inch). Figure 66 illustrates both landing gear structure.

104


Figure 66: Frontal Landing Gear
The dimensions and layout guideline of both landing gears are the same. Also, based on the
market availability, the material of both landing gears was determined to be aluminum 6061-T6 which a
light weight material along with a reasonable stiffness. Figure 70 illustrates the requirement of the trail
dragger gear.(Raymer,231)

Figure 67: Landing Gear Ranges
In order to prevent crash and collapse at the time of landing, it was decided to increase the
weight of airplane by more than 150% in the analysis. Thus, the weight of airplane was increase to 10.4

105

kg which is proportional to 104N. Both designs were tested on Solidworks by using Cosmoswork
application. The results of factory of safety and stress concentration on circular cross section landing
gear are shown in figure 68 and 69 respectively.

Figure 68: Landing Gear Analysis-Factor of Safety

Figure 69: Landing Gear- Static Nodal Stress Analysis

106

The factor of safety and stress concentration on the rectangular cross section tail dragger gear are
shown in figure 70 and figure 71.

Figure 70: Rectangular Landing Gear- Factor of Safety

Figure 71: Rectangular Landing Gear- Static Nodal Stress Analysis

107

Both tail dragger Landing gear designs showed a remarkable value for factor of safety. However
since the rectangular landing gear is more prominent in the market then it was deemed as the best and
most marketable choice.
5.13 Aircraft Structural Assembly

5.14 Stability and Control
Lateral motion refers to the rolling motion of the airplane which is usually controlled by ailerons
on the wings. Directional motion refers to the yawing motion of the airplane which is usually controlled
by the rudder/vertical flap on the empennage or tail of the plane. Longitudinal motion refers to the
pitching motion of the airplane which is usually controlled by the elevators on the on the empennage or
tail of the plane.


108

Figure 72: Plane motion
5.14.1 Directional Static Stability and Control
Directional stability refers to the ability of an aircraft to normalize itself in the z direction.
Aircrafts tend to shift either to the right or left. The angle can go positive or negative and it is called the
sideslip angle β. Vertical stabilizers are the typical control mechanism for directional stability. For a
deeper understanding of yawing movements and control it is important to note that the shifting
behavior is simply a reaction to a series of moments denoted by N. These moments occur when the
vertical stabilizer or flap is shifted to the right or left around the z axis and thus change the distance
between the aerodynamic center of gravity of the plane and the aerodynamic center of gravity of the
vertical stabilizer.
A cross wind may change the direction of a flight and rotates the airplane’s nose about the
vertical axis. In other words, the moment about the center of gravity can rotate the airplane about its
vertical axis. In this case, the vertical tail acts like a wing at an angle of attack, generates a side force and
rotates the airplane back to its original position. For instance, a cross wind comes from right side of the
airplane and cause the nose to rotate to left. In order to maintain the stability of airplane the force on
the tail must rotate the airplane back to its original position. This produced moment which makes the
airplane to keep its stability is called directional stability. Figure 73 shows the direction of side force
produced destabilizing moment and tail stabilizing moment are opposite from each other.

109


Figure 73: Directional Stability
The coefficient of directional stability ( can define the stability of airplane. The value of coefficient
of stability must be positive and the suggested range is from 0.05 to 0.20. Figure 74 shows the suggested
coefficient of stability for several airplanes with respect to Mach number.


110


Figure 74: Stability Coefficients with respect to Mach Number
The value of coefficient of directional stability can be calculated from Equation 18;
Equation 18: Coefficient of Directional Stability Equation

Where, are the coefficients of directional stability of fuselage, wing and
vertical stabilizer.
The fuselage yawing moment coefficient value is the function of depth, width and volume and
can be express in Equation 19.
Equation 19: Coefficient of Directional Stability in terms of depth, width and volume


111

Where and are respectively the maximum depth and width of the fuselage. It is clear that
fuselage generates a negative contribution to the lateral stability. The fuselage yawing moment
coefficient value was determined to be -0.01364.
The empirical expression for the wing yawing moment coefficient due to sideslips is shown in
Equation 20.
Equation 20: Wing yawing moment coefficient due to sideslip

Where is the aspect ratio, CL is the total coefficient of lift, is the wing sweep angle , is the
location of center of gravity and is the location of the wing aerodynamic center. Since the wing
doesn’t have any sweep angle thus, the wing yawing moment coefficient was determined to be
0.073576.
Finally, the coefficient of vertical tail which plays as a significant role in the lateral stability can
be calculated by using Equation 21;
Equation 21: Vertical Tail Coefficient Equation



112


The vertical tail yawing moment coefficient was determined to be 0.042832.
By adding all the calculated coefficients; fuselage, wing and vertical stabilizer, the total
directional stability coefficient is 0.05993. Since the directional stability coefficient is a
positive value and it’s close to the reasonable range provided before thus, the directional stability of the
designed airplane is satisfied.
5.14.2 Lateral Static Stability and Control
Lateral stability, on the other hand, refers to the stability in around the x direction in which
aircrafts tend to shift either to the up or down like a see-saw as seen in Table 4 for different types of
wing positions. In this case ailerons are the typical control mechanism for lateral stability. The ailerons
are flaps on the wings that can be moved upward or downward to control the rolling or turning motion
of an aircraft. As previously mentioned dihedral is the upward incline of the wing and it is one of the
principal and most effective methods of maintaining lateral stability. When the aircraft starts rolling to
any side an increase in lift force and moment is concentrated on the wing with the downward inclination
pushing it back to neutral position.





113

Table 25: Lateral Stability - Middle, Low and High Wing [16]



Figure (a)Middle Wing Figure (b) Low Wing Figure (c) High Wing

5.14.3 Longitudinal Stability
In order for an airplane to be in equilibrium and stable, the sum of all the forces and the
moments on it must be zero. The airplane is no longer in equilibrium if the stability is disturbed by
atmospheric turbulence or increases in the angle of attack. This increase of the angle of attack would
cause a statically unstable condition for the airplane. The airplane is called statically stable if the
restoring moments and forces which are generated by gusts on the airplane bring it back to its
equilibrium condition.
Dynamic longitudinal stability is concerned with the motion of a statically stable airplane. In
other words, dynamics stability refers to the airplane's ability to damp out oscillations, which depends
on how fast or how slow it responds to an interruption. The airplane may be statically and dynamically
stable when the preliminary tendency and long term tendency both are to recover from a disturbing
force such as atmospheric turbulence. Figure 75 show the static dynamic stability while Figure18 shows
the instability of airplane.

114


Figure 75: Static and Dynamic Stability



Figure 76: Statically and Dynamically Unstable

115

Strong winds can generate a small moment about the airplane center of gravity and a little
positive additional lift which are represented by dM and dL respectively. The airplane maintains its
static stability if the small lift (dL) is positive while the generated moment (dM) is negative. In this case,
the force generated by the upward gust and the downward force which makes the nose drop balances
each other. If this condition is not satisfied the pitch of the wing will increase hence creating more lift
and causing instability. As a result, for static stability the dM/dL ratio (or dM/dα) must be negative. The
pitching moment has a linear relationship with the angle of attack. The relationship between these two
factors and the effect to the static stability of the airplane are illustrated in Figure77.

Figure 77: Statically and Dynamically Unstable
As mentioned in previous sections the C
L
and C
M
are dimensionless values and can be calculated by the
following equations.


116


Where, is the dynamics pressure and C is the mean aerodynamic chord length. The pitching
stability is measured by the static stability margin which is defined as:

Where, X
np
and X
cg
are the location of numeral lift point of the main wing and location of center of
gravity respectively.
dC
M
/dC
L
is a dimensionless value version of the dM/dL quantity and it must be negative to
achieve static stability. Therefore, the resultant static margin (SM) will be a positive value. Additionally it
should be noted that as the static margin increases the tendency of the longitudinal stability also
increases. In order to ensure the longitudinal stability, two major factors need to be considered.
First the center of gravity should be placed as far forward as possible. Having a forward center
of gravity causes the nose to drop down if lift increase due to a sudden gust. As a result, the angle of
attack and lift force will decrease allowing the airplane to restore its stability. A similar scenario may
occur in an opposite manner if there is a downward gust.
Second, if there is an upward gust, the horizontal stabilizer should be located as far as possible
from the center of gravity. The moment generated by an aft tail surface provide more leverage in
causing the nose to drop which reduces the angle of attack and lift force. The common static margin for
most airplanes is between 10 to 20 percent. An airplane with a large static margin may become sluggish

117

and hard to maneuver and resists changing the angle of attack. Also, having an airplane with large tail
generates drag and it adds more weight and cost to the airplane.
5.15 Electrical Design

Figure 78: Electrical Component Schematic

5.16 Work Time Cost Analysis

Table 26: Work Hours Invested
Hours Worked
Unmanned Aerial Reconaissance Vehicle (AUVSI 2011 Competition)
Team C:Ana Puente, Natalia Posada, Seyed Alavi
Start Date:8/9/2010

Tasks Hours % Complete
1 Conceptural Design

118

1.1 Fuselage 20 100%
1.2 Wings 20 100%
1.3 Empannage 5 100%
2 Payload Selection
2.1 camera 2 100%
2.2 sensors 2 100%
2.3 gyros 2 100%
2.4 propellers 2 100%
2.5 motors 5 100%
2.6 servos 5 100%
2.7 Auto pilot 5 100%
3 Funding
3.1 FSGC 10 100%
3.2 FIU School of Engineering 10 100%
3.3 CSO 40 100%
3.4 SGA 15 100%
3.5 Outside Sponsorship 10 75%
4 Calculations & Analysis
4.1 fuselage 30 100%
4.2 wings 30 100%
4.3 empennage 10 100%
5 Build, Test, & Repair
5.1 fuselage 20 100%
5.2 wings 50 100%
5.3 empannage 50 100%
5.4 Component Testing 15 100%
Total Hours 358


119

5.17 Software Discussion
Table 27: Simulation Software Capabilities



ANSYS 12.0 [20] Solid Works 2011 [19]
Simulation Package
Laminar and turbulent
Steady-state and transient
Incompressible to fully compressible(subsonic, transonic,
supersonic)
Ideal and real gases
Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluids
Heat transfer

3D CAD Package Simulation Package
3D Solid Modeling Assembly Simulation
Large assembly design capabilities Mechanism Analysis
Advanced surfacing Event-Based Motion
Sheet metal Compare and Optimize
Design
Weldments Predict Buckling or
Collapse
Mold Design Simulate Fatigue
Read PCB data as 3D parts Simulate Plastic and
Rubber Components
Direct model modification Simulate Composites
Simulate Forced Vibrations
Nonlinear Dynamics

The simulation packages in use include ANSYS 12.0 and Solid Works 2011. These packages allow
us to simulate conditions and optimize the aircraft design. ANSYS 12.0 is mainly being utilized to

120

simulate the flight parameters during the completion. A few assumptions made include incompressible
laminar flow surrounds the airfoil. Meanwhile SolidWorks 2011 is used for mechanical analysis and to
simulate varying composite materials, optimization and forced vibrations.
5.18 OPENFOAM
Open Foam is a open source linux based program with the capability of performing
computational fluid dynamic, heat transfer and stress calculations . The following is a procedural
overview of the steps taken toward using one of the various solvers packages available within
openFoam.
5.18.1 Procedure
The following stepwise procedure aims at providing a detail reference of the steps that can be
taken to create the first simulation. Much care must be taken in defining the appropriate boundaries
and flow directions.
1
st
Save solid works part in STL format in solidworks, go to options and make sure to pick ASCII (when in
ubuntu rename the file extention with lower case “stl”)
2
nd
Open a new folder within the “Case Studies” folder in which the Mesher and Solver files can be
placed. The files for the UAV design are named “ incomp_meshFull” and “incomp_meshFullSolver” .
3
rd
Enter → “incomp_meshFull”-->”constant”--> “Trisurface” and paste solidworks parts in this folder.
4
th
double click the stl part file and rename the file with a short name recognizable name which is used
within the “snappyHexmesh” file.

121

5
th
Go to terminal window and open ParaView and upload the component and get the dimensions which
are found in the information panel on the bottom left of the page. These dimensions will define the
approximate domain of the block mesh. If error message is received press “ ls” in the terminal window
and make sure to changed directory “cd” to be inside mesh file of the simulation of choice (See meshing
section for more detail)
For example:
x range: #<x<# (delta #)
y range:#<y<# (delta #)
z range:#<z<# (delta #)

6
th
Enter → “incomp_meshFull”-->”constant”--> “Polymesh”-->”blockMeshDict”
The domain and appropriate inlet and outlet along with the sides can be established in this prompt. By
trial and error a reasonably sized block around the part with sufficient space to run simulation is
established.
7
th
Once an acceptable box size is determined keep note of the name of your part**
Enter--> “incomp_meshFull”-->”system”-->”SnappyHexMesh”
**the purpose of the “snappyhexmesh” file is to define points of interest and control the level
of coarseness or fineness.
Double click on the “snappyHexMesh” file and rename the geometry to something useful
Geometry [Rename Here*]
*note: use the nickname under refinement surfaces
Refinement surfaces
{

122

[Nickname Here]
{
Update the level of refinement. This portion will only affect the meshing on the surface of the
part.
Level 2,3 is Coarse. Level 7,8 is Fine. You can start with Level 4,5 which is in between.
8
th
In the same “snappyHexMesh” file define a “refinement box” (#,#,#) (#,#,#) . Look at the part called
Range. These values can be a little smaller than actual part ranges.
For example:
x range: #<x<# (delta #)
y range:#<y<# (delta #)
z range:#<z<# (delta #)
This action will basically create a concentration region for a new finer mesh. Consequent
the level of refinement can also be defined in this section. For example: level (1E15,#)
#=2 is coarse. #=4 is fine. Start with refinement level #=3.
9
th
In the same “snappyHexmesh” document go to LocationInMesh section. Here you will define a
starting point for the mesh. **important: this value must be inside the domain but outside the actual
part. Figure out a reasonable value. Tip: ctl+s (Save)
10
th
once these parameters are ready you are nearly ready to run your mesh!
Run regular block mesh by changing directory as follows: cd-->casestudies-->”simulation folder
name” ---->Meshing Folder Name--> blockMesh-->ParaFoam
run concentration mesh: -->SnappyHexMesh-->CheckMesh-->ParaFoam

123

11
th
If all runs well then transfer the generated Mesh files from the “polymesh” folder to the “polymesh”
folder within the solver so that the solver creates a solution around the predefined regions. *very
important step- the solver needs the appropriate mesh files to run.
12
th
Update the following parameters within the “controlDict” folder inside the system folder. In this
region one can specify the expected environmental conditions and data specific to the part being
simulated.
Density

Temperature

Center of Mass (x,y,z)

Airspeed

Planform Area Chord Length

13
th
Also review in paraview the axis such that if the part is positioned with the inlet in the x-z plane
then the drag must be updated to show its proper direction in the y axis for example: (0 1 0). Similarly, if
the lift should occur upward in the z direction then the appropriate notation for representing the lift is
(0 0 1)
14
th
Once the mesh and input parameters have been updated change directory “cd” and enter solver
folder within the terminal window and type “simpleFoam >log &” . The terminal window is very case
sensitive. Make sure to put 1 space between m and >.
15
th
Forces folder within the solver file will have the 3D coefficients of lift, drag and moment forces.
When coefficient values reach steady state the ctl+c command stops the program

124

16
th
Type “paraFoam” in the terminal window and review results in the 2
nd
,3
rd
or more time steps
available. There are many commands like slice, streamlines and glyphs that allow the user to obtain a
variety display settings for the pressure and velocity distributions around the part under analysis.
6. Prototype Construction

6.1 Description of Prototype
Our preliminary design will have a long straight rectangular wing span. The purpose for having
such a design is to obtain a high aspect ratio for high lift while minimizing the drag. In order to achieve
high aspect ratio the wing span will be increased as the chord length decreases. Also, the airfoil
geometry plays a fundamental role in the lift of the aircraft and as seen in Equation 1: Lift Coefficient
also depends highly on Reynolds number. Hence, we will pursue an airfoil configuration associated with
low Reynolds number in order to maximize lift.
6.2 Prototype Cost Analysis
Table 28: Prototype Preliminary Cost

125

Preliminary Expenses Unit Cost Qty Expanded
Cost
Vendor
CA Adhesive, Thin 2 oz $10.29 1 10.29 Rockler
CA Adhesive, Med 2 oz $10.29 1 10.29 Rockler
CA Adhesive, Thick 2 oz $15.99 1 15.99 Rockler
Pliers Set $16.79 1 16.79 Amazon
Irwin Industrial Tools - Retractable Utility Knife $8.05 2 16.10 Amazon
Irwin Industrial Tools - Retractable Utility Blades - 50
Pack
$13.99 1 13.99 Amazon
Rotary Tool - Die Grinder - 60 Pc Set $21.87 1 21.87 Amazon
Kawasaki 840015 Black 10-Piece Heat Gun Kit $34.99 1 34.99 Amazon
Folding Hex Key Set $12.99 1 12.99 Amazon
ScrewDriver Set $10.91 1 10.91 Amazon
Tool Box - Black & Decker Mastercart Tool Box $64.99 1 64.99 Amazon
Sand Paper $6.99 1 6.99 Amazon
Cutting Mat (24"x36") $30.60 1 30.60 Amazon
Scissors Set $7.99 1 7.99 Amazon
Stainless Steel Ruler Set $11.86 1 11.86 Amazon
Total $636.14

6.3 Prototype Construction
6.3.1 Description of Prototype
The UAV prototype involves full manufacturing of 74in wing structure, boom, vertical
stabilizer, horizontal stabilizer and fuselage interior. The wing structure consists of a mixture of
balsa and bass wood ribs united by carbon fiber rods. The boom structure uniting the fuselage

126

to the empennage consists of a carbon fiber rod secured onto a light weight flat plate made out
of bass wood by means of balsa wood ribs that hold it in place. The vertical stabilizer consists of
5 ribs with varying chord lengths such that it contains an approximate sweep angle of 35
degrees and taper ratio of 0.4. The horizontal stabilizer was designed with no taper and
manufactured with approx. # ribs to provide a total span of 25inches. The fuselage structure is a
retrofit of the telemaster fuselage in which the interior is completely cleared and adapted to
sustain the electrical components and camera assembly designed for the UAV. Special care was
required in terms of units since most of the calculations were initially made using SI units yet
during machining the CNC machine was programmed to use English units.
6.4 Wings
The wing structure construction began with manufacturing the 24 ribs which include a mixture
of balsa wood and bass wood for reinforcement. Additional ribs were created as a backup.
Machining of the ribs involved first creating the CNC code with MasterCam Software such that
first the inner pockets were cut and later the exterior of the ribs was removed. In order to
minimize the number of line codes for the CNC machine most of the surface lines were deleted
such that only 6 to 7 critical points required to create the airfoil geometry were left as guiding
points. Since balsa wood is very delicate almost spungy, special care was taken such that the
CNC machine was instructed to slow down and increase the revolutions to properly cut the
wood without damaging the geometry of the airfoil.

127

Assembly of the wing structure involved creating a sort of rail system, a 48in wooden
bar, where the distances of each rib were marked of and the ribs were aligned uniformly both
in terms of tail height and the distance between each rib. The ribs were each marked at the
same point, aligned and slightly glued to the reference rail. Very carefully one by one each rib
was placed and secured such that the carbon fiber rods could be later inserted and secured to
the ribs. The slightest misalignment means the rods would have trouble fitting or that the wing
will be crooked which would adversely affect the performance of the aircraft.
After properly aligning the ribs unto the carbon fiber rods the airfoils removed from the
reference rail and are covered by 1/32in thick balsa wood skin on the trailing edge of the wing.
Meanwhile the leading edge is covered by a wetted slice of the same balsa wood skin. After the
front and rear of the wing have been glued into place the aileron sections are cut from the right
and left wing sections respectively and individually covered in the resulting exposed cross-
sections by the same thin (1/32in) balsa wood skin. In order to mobilize the aileron sections 4
minor slits are cut into each section such that they are perfectly aligned and can be mated. This
allows the ailerons to move upward and downward. Finally the servo connections are secured
onto the wing structure such that they lay on the reinforced sections of the wing.
Procedure

128


Boundary region

CNC machine simulation of cutting inner pockets

CNC machine simulation of airfoil cutting





129


Cutting inner pockets

Cutting airfoil

Result
6.5 Wing Tips
The wing tip section on each wing was measured to be 45 degrees. The actual thickness of the
rib needed to expand the wing section 45 degrees away from the standard wing assembly required
obtaining the



45 deg
3.9cm

130





6.6 Ailerons
The approximate length of the ailerons is 18.5 inches long and 2 inches in thickness. The following image
shows the method of obtaining the ailerons. Once the wing was fully constructed the ailerons were
measured and cut of the main assembly to later be reconnected by 3 joints.
Figure 79: Wing tip

131


Figure 80: Cutting Ailerons
6.7 Fuselage
In order to retrofit the fuselage to the desired design, the existing aircraft needed to be
modified with the following changes. The first and most important change was designing a surface
where the ribs of the wing could rest on the fuselage perfectly when in flight. This had to be done in
order to make sure there was no space between the wings and the fuselage and in order to
accommodate the 4.8 degrees angle of attack in which the wing ribs were custom made to be. This was
designed by using a protractor and a trace of the fuselage on paper; this can be found in the appendices.

132



Figure 81: AOA adapters
It was also determined that three of these structures had to be made in order to safely position
and sustain the wings on top of the fuselage. Figure 82 shows the rib fitting exactly to the design on top
of the fuselage. Both edges of the fuselage will have one of these and one more will be placed in the
middle.

133


Figure 82: Rib fitting

Another addition to the fuselage was mounting boards. As shown in figure 83 the area was mainly made
of monokote which in order to best fit the electrical components a piece of wood was cut in the shape
of the open space.

Figure 83: Mounting Boards



134

This would allow the team to add pieces of Velcro to sustain the electrical components and since
the wood could handle the stress of taking the components out and putting them back in without
deforming the monocot. Figure below on the right shows the piece of wood that was designed to fit on
both sides of the fuselage, therefore, allowing more space to accommodate the electrical components.
The third addition was made in order to accommodate the ESC and battery in the same space. Figure
below on the left shows the open space where only the battery would fit in order to power the motor
but on the sides additional supports were added to support the shelf for the ESC.

Figure 84: Interior
Figure 84 on the right shows the added shelf. In Figure 81 left shows an open space is shown on the top
side of the fuselage which had to be covered in order to create a support for the boom assembly that
would hold the empennage of the aircraft. A piece of wood was custom made in order to fill the open
space.

135


Figure 85: Shelving
Since the boom assembly needed to be mounted unto here additional supports were added at the
bottom as shown in Figure 86.

Figure 86: Support
These supports were added in order to allow screws to be drilled in and support the boom assembly
that would be added.

136

6.8 Camera Mounting Section
In order to best protect the camera a box was bought that fit the camera with the packaging.
The box is shown in Figure 87-left. The packaging was used as a damping mechanism to help reduce the
vibration while up in the air and to best hold the camera within the box. In addition, holes had to be
created, as shown in figure 87-right, in order to sustain the box with a bracket mechanism. Also, a hole
for the control antennas was needed in order for the control antennas to go through the box in order to
connect to the micropilot. This box was also retro-fitted in order to best attain the pictures necessary
for the mission while keeping the data safe in case the UAV were to crash.

Figure 87: Camera Mount
Now, what needed to be done to the fuselage was create a support that could sustain the
weight of the camera while in flight. For this support balsawood was used as shown in figure 88-left.
The monocot needed to be cut in order to add the support needed for the camera as shown in figure 88-
right. This later will be covered in monocot again in order to create a smooth aerodynamic surface.

137


Figure 88: Camera Support

6.9 Empennage
The empennage assembly can be broken down in two parts the vertical and horizontal
assemblies. The horizontal stabilizer assembly resembles the main wing assembly such that the
airfoils are manufactured in similar fashion. The horizontal stabilizer ribs totaling 11 were
machined via a CNC machine in which special care was taken to properly machine the balsa
wood. The horizontal structure was designed with only balsa wood as the rib material hence
the center section was reinforced by increasing the number of ribs toward the middle and
distributing the remaining ribs. The ribs were secured in place by appropriately placing
individually each rib unto the marked area on reference rail and slightly gluing the rib to keep in
place. Once the ribs are secured onto the balsa wood rod with strong glue the ribs are removed
from the reference rail. Now the 1/32in balsa wood skin is placed onto the trailing edge of the

138

airfoil and a wetted section is bent around the frontal portion of the airfoil and secured when
dry with glue just as a done with the main wing assembly.
After the front and rear of the wing have been glued into place the elevator sections are
cut from the right and left wing sections respectively and individually covered in the resulting
exposed cross-sections by the same thin (1/32in) balsa wood skin used to cover the front and
rear of the airfoils. In order to mobilize the elevator sections 3 minor slits are cut into each
section such that they are perfectly aligned and can be mated. This allows the elevators to
move upward and downward.
6.10 Horizontal Stabilizer

Rib construction

Sketch on software MasterCam

139


Simulation cutting inner pocket

Simulation cutting exterior airfoil

Result





140

6.11 Horizontal Stabilizer Assembly

Securing ribs to balsa wood rod

Skin covering

Result


141

6.12 Tip section

The tip section involved obtaining the appropriate new height of the rib based on the desired tip angle
of 45 degrees.
6.13 Elevator


6.14 Vertical Stabilizer
The vertical stabilizer was the first part of the aircraft created. In line with the set design the
frontal section of the vertical stabilizer is swept back approximately 25 degrees. In order to achieve the
swept back feature 5 rib sections of varied chord lengths from root to tip were required. First, scaled
print outs of each of the paper airfoils was cut and taped over a balsa wood sheet of 3/16 in thickness.
Carefully the balsa wood was cut to create the form of the airfoil NACA0012 selected in the design

142

process. The ribs were then fastened to vertical drilling machine in order to insert 3/8in holes into each
of the ribs. In order to achieve a consistent geometry the ribs were sanded. Additionally the ribs were
inserted into a 3/8in diameter spar bar with a distance of 6mm between each rib. Once the ribs were
secured on the spar with glue a very thin (1/32 in) sheet of balsa wood was glued from root to tip on
each side of the trailing edge of the airfoils. Later the same thin (1/32in) sheet of balsa wood was wet,
bent around a pole and positioned in the leading edge of the airfoils and glued to place. All the while
excess or overlapping material was cut off.

Figure 89: Cutting inner pockets

Figure 90: Vertical Stabilizer ribs

143


6.15 Boom Assembly
Initially the boom assembly was designed such that the fuselage and empennage of the
UAV would be connected via connector rod which would be secured unto both sections by rod
clamps. In practice the clamp mechanism albeit convenient proved to be unnecessary and
undesirably heavy thus the securing mechanism was replaced by simple balsa wood structure
around the hollow carbon fiber connector rod in the front and rear of the UAV. F

Figure 92: Horizontal Stabilizer connected to boom
Figure 91: Covering Vertical Stabilizer with skin
(1/32in)

144

6.16 Monokote

Figure above shows the wing and empennage assembly covered with white monokote which
was pasted to over the structures by means of an iron and a heat gun in which the iron activates the
adhesive material in the monokote and the heat gun makes the material contract.
6.17 Cost Analysis
Table 29: Cost Analysis
Date Item Description Construction Competition Shared
4/2/2011 Balsa Wood $ 96.56
4/1/2011 Battery & Connector

$ 67.91
3/31/2011 USB II Serial Cable

$ 43.86
4/3/2011 Balsa Wood & Glue $ 62.56
2/21/2011 Relay

$ 18.02
4/5/2011 Machine shop $ 450.00
12/6/2010 Poster $ 97.36
10/25/2010 EZ Antenna

$ 146.33


145

12/22/2010 Ubiquiti life Station-SR71

$ 53.95
1/6/2011 Registration Fee

$ 500.00
Pending Wireless kit supplies

$ 209.73


Flight & Van

$ 2,457.12


Profili $ 83.34
2/19/2011 Spectrum Radio

$ 402.41
4/5/2011 Utility Knife $ 13.22
2/27/2011 Motor & ESC

$ 81.36
1/20/2011 Epoxy

10.59
1/21/2011 Receiver Battery & Blades

$ 35.33
4/5/2011 Telemaster Airplane $ 190.00
4/4/2011 Carbon Fiber $ 86.16
Tentative Spare Parts and Marketing

$ 650.00


Total $ 1,079.20 $ 4,160.37 $ 516.24
Table 29 displays a cost breakdown of all the expenses incurred for the project so far. The expenses
include a separation of direct competition expenses, airplane construction and shared expenses
between both areas.
6.18 Improvement on design
A few of the most significant improvements on the design included modifications to the
empennage assembly such that the distance of the ribs were redistributed slightly to provide
sufficient support to the vertical stabilizer and securely connect to the boom assembly.
Additional modifications included reinforcements for the wing structure by means a mixture of
stronger airfoil ribs structures with the typically lightweight balsa wood.

146



6.19 Discussion
There are many levels of testing required for this senior design capstone project. One of the first
testing procedures will be conducted on the wings through simulation testing. Drag and lift forces with
respect to varying angles of attack in addition to current RC plane performance testing will behave as a
reference point. Part of the testing of existing systems has been completed. A battery powered trainer
aircraft with a 6 foot wingspan obtained a total flight time of approximately 10 minutes plus gliding time
of approximately 6 minutes. It is noteworthy to mention the power plant used was an AXI2628 12 motor
connected to a 4200 mAh lithium polymer battery. Additional testing was done on camera selected for
the competition. The first test included a flight with an off the shelf RC aircraft. A lumix camera was
tested at 5 Mega Pixels and then tested at 12 Mega Pixels. During both cases no zoom was used. The
images were captured at 2 and 5 second intervals by programming a relay circuit.
Field experiments with both fixed wing aircrafts and vertical take-off vehicles were performed to
examine mobility, stability and ease of use. The results of the field trials indicated the definite

147

advantages of fixed wing aircrafts over vertical lift-off aircrafts with respect to our motivation to
participate in the 2011 UAVSI competition. During the field experiment the group was able to observe a
few pros and cons of the fixed wing aircraft tested. For example, some benefits included relatively high
durability and simple controls. Some of the disadvantages noted were the lack of rapid portability and
the need for hand tossed take-off. A helicopter was also tested and although the take-off procedure was
fair it was difficult to control and had a short flight time. Thus, the group decided to focus on the design
of a fixed wing aircraft.
7. Testing and Evaluation
7.1 Overview
The testing and evaluation stage includes testing of the camera at different resolutions for most feasible
resolution. The testing also includes an autonomous flight simulation and an aircraft flight stability and
duration assessment to evaluate the actual and expected performance of the aircraft system. The
aircraft underwent balancing procedures to verify the center of gravity once all the components were
secured unto the aircraft.
7.2 Design of Experiments - Description of Experiments
7.2.1 Camera Testing
The camera was tested on board an OTS aircraft in which the resolution was varied from 5
Megapixels to 12 megapixels. Figure below displays the resolution at 5 megapixels and different
altitudes. Based on these results the team decided that the 5 megapixels

148



7.3 Autopilot Testing
For the competition an autopilot system called the Micropilot will be used in order to achieve
autonomous flight. Its capabilities range from altitude and airspeed readings, GPS navigation, as well as
autonomous launch and autonomous recovery. The Micropilot should be mounted close to the center of
gravity of the UAV with a horizontal orientation. Figure 94 shows the micropilot and figure 93 shows the
schematic of the Micropilot and how it must be positioned inside the UAV.

149




Figure 93: Schematic

Figure 94: Micropilot
It is important to provide separate power sources for the MicroPilot and the servos. Servos can
draw large amounts of current for short periods of time and these large current draws can cause a
voltage drop in the power source. If you were to share the same set of batteries between the MicroPilot
and the servos, this power drop could cause your Micropilot to reset. Therefore, it requires at least a
4.2V DC power supply that goes directly connected to the P2 connector on the Micropilot. The servo
board, shown in figure 96 and schematic figure 95 requires at least 4.8V to power the servos.


150



Figure 95: Servo Board Schematic

Figure 96: Servo Board
In addition, the electronic speed controller, which is connected to the motor, will have it’s own
source power to make sure that no ground loops occur. The power source it uses is the lipo as
mentioned before in section 5.15.
The Micropilot system also includes ground control software called Horizon used for mission
creation, parameter adjustment, flight monitoring and mission simulation. In order to achieve
autonomous flight many flight tests must occur in order to calibrate the elevators, ailerons, rudders, and
so forth. This requires a bit of basic programming in a text file. For example, in order to adjust the
elevators, ailerons, and rudder gains the following program tells the Micropilot what to do.

151

Imperial
[thOverride]=1 //set manual throttle control in CIC mode
[climbPitch]=0 //temporarily set the pitch used by the
//pclimb command to 0
takeoff
pclimb 10000 //initiate a pClimb (at zero pitch, because
//climbPitch is set to zero)
flyTo (0,0) //give the autopilot a destination
repeat -1

pClimb command holds a constant pitch while attempting to hold the wings level and reduce sideslip to
zero. The thOverride command, when set to 1, allows the pilot to control the throttle from the ground
even while the Micropilot is flying in CIC mode. This allows the pilot to fly at various speeds and then
analyze the flight data to adjust the gain schedules for various speed ranges. The idea is to perform a
manual takeoff and climb to a safe altitude before switching over to CIC mode. After switching to CIC
mode, the plane’s behavior, at cruise speed, can be analyzed and adjusted.
The most important setups for the competition are the waypoints and the map where the UAV
must fly. This involves a geographic positioning system, GPS, and a pictorial representation of the actual
location from google earth. For testing purposes, figure ## shows the location of the back field of

152

Florida International University’s Engineering Center. This picture was taken from google earth and the
coordinates for the Northwest corner and Southeast corner were recorded to be:
Northwest Corner
25°46’17.94”N
80°21’59.51”Wss

Southeast Corner
25°46’17.94”S
80°21’55.46”E

Figure 97: Path Google Maps
Figure 97 below shows the setup of the map in Micropilot in order to simulate a flight with waypoints in
order to prepare for the competition. Many other calibrations will take place while using the UAV in
preparation for the competition.

153


Figure 98: Waypoints
7.4 Environmental Impact
One of the major benefits of aircraft is an improvement in the flight time of an electric plan form
such that it becomes a more competitive alternative to highly polluting alternatives such as gas or nitro.
The electric system emits no exhaust as opposed to its current alternatives which makes it the most
environmentally friendly alternative as previously mentioned during the power plant selection stage.
8. Conclusion
The following figures display the takeoff cruise and landing of the aircraft plan form design for
the UAV. The flight time achieved was approximately 12 minutes. For additional flight time the UAV is
equipped to sustain an extra battery.

154


Figure 99: Take Off

Figure 100: Cruise

Figure 101: Landing

155

8.1 Future Work
Based on investigations toward the design of an aircraft with a high lift the airfoil FX 63-137 is
considered to meet the requirements of a high performance UAV for the competition. Additionally, light
weight off the shelf (OTS) control systems and high definition surveillance components have been
reviewed for a way of increasing the flight time. Thus, due to a better understanding of emerging
technology the study has provide a detailed overview of the growth potential a feasible system
integration of an aerodynamic high lift vehicle with sufficient flight time to complete a military
Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) mission. The report presently details the design, and
testing process used by the team in preparation for the AUVSI SUAS 2011 Competition.
After the test flight various modifications will be considered which include using a larger
propeller, stronger motor, and less dihedral for higher mobility.
9. References
[1] Anderson, David, and Scott Eberhardt. UNDERSTANDING FLIGHT. SECOND EDITION. New
York: Mc Graw Hill, 1976. Print.
[2] Raymer, Daniel. "ENHANCING AIRCRAFT CONCEPTUAL DESIGN USING MULTIDISCIPLINARY
OPTIMIZATION." Department of Aeronautics Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan Royal Institute of
Technology. (2002): Print.
[3] Raymer, Daniel. Aircraft Design: A Conceptual Approach. 3rd edition. American Institute of
Aeronautics, 1999. Print.
[4] Rossi, Marco. "DESIGN AND ANALYSIS OF A COMPOSITE FUSELAGE." Instituto Tecnológico de

156

Aeronáutica. (2009): Print.
[5] Jenkinson, Lloyd, and James Marchman. Aircraft Design Projects for engineering students.
1st edition. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann, 2003. Print.
[6] Abzug, Malcolm. Airplane Stability and Control. 2nd Edition. New York,: Cambridge
University Press,, 2002. Print.
[7] AFSHAR,, SEPIDEH, and HOSSEIN SHAHI. "Design and Fabrication of a Delta Wing Micro Aerial
Vehicle." INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MECHANICS. 2007. Print.
[8] Nelson, Robert, and Thomas Corke. "Modification of the Flow Structure over a UAV Wing for
Roll Control." 45th Aerospace Sciences Meeting. (2007): Print.
[9] Fielding, John. Introduction to aircraft design. Cambridge University Press, 1999. Print.
[10] Cutler, John, and Jeremy Liber. Understanding aircraft structures. 4th Edition. Wiley-
Blackwell, 2005. Print.
*11+ Taylor,J., Jane’s All the World Aircraft, Jane’s, London, England, UK, 1976
[12] 1995, Anderson Jr., John D., Computational Fluid Dynamics –The Basics with Applications:
McGraw-Hill,Inc. New York, NY
[11] McCormick, Barnes. “Aerodynamics, Aeronautics and Flight Mechanics”, Second Edition.
1995 John Wiley & Sons
[12] http://rcfoamfighters.com/blog/?p=446

157

[13] http://www.iai.co.il/18900-37204
en/BusinessAreas_UnmannedAirSystems_HeronFamily.aspx?btl=1
[14] Adams, Charlotte; Oct 7,2010 Article"avionics-intelligence-features-and-analysis"
http://www.militaryaerospace.com
[15] Lopez, Ramon:February 4, 2010; Aviation Today News - Article"Worldwide-UAV-Market-to-
Top-$80-Billion" http://www.aviationtoday.com/regions/usa/
[16] http://www.centennialofflight.gov/essay/Theories_of_Flight/Stability_II/TH27G8.html
[17] http://pma263webdev.bowheadsupport.com/studentcomp2010/default.html
[18] http://www.webkorridor.hu/a-repulogep-szerkezete-Aircraft-Structure.htm
[19] http://www.solidworks.com/sw/products/10194_ENU_HTML.htm
[20] 2011 Ansys Technical Specifications. Overview of Technical Capabilities.Resource Library
Document. www.ansys.com/staticassets
[21] http://www.engineeredpartsinc.com/images/indentedHexLine.gif
[22] http://www.eplastics.com/Plastic/Plastics_Library/TYPICAL-PHYSICAL-PROPERTIES-
PLEXIGLASS-SHEEThttp://www.ehow.com/about_4702630_advantages-galvanized-steel.html



158



159

10. Appendices
10.1 Appendix A. Detailed Raw Design Calculations and Analysis (Scanned
Material)

160




161



162


163



164



165



166



167



168



169



170