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May 3, 2011


Group 2 Personnel
Jesse Casadaban
Nick Geraci
Colleen Harris
Ben LaPres
Alfredo Morales
Matthew Zak








1
Abstract
The Push it to the Limit is an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) to be used as a drone for data
acquisition. Namely, the aircraft is tted with a Fog Aerosol Sampling System (FASS) which,
when own through fog, will record concentration and make-up of the air. The Conceptual
Design will discuss the preliminary design considerations and rough performance estimates.
This design uses a puller propeller conguration with a high wing, conventional tail and
square fuselage. The FASS will be mounted on the underside of the fuselage. Considering
the mission, maneuverability was the primary concern in developing the conceptual design.





















Who put this thing together? Me, thats who! Who do I trust? Me!
-Antonio Montana
2
Contents
0.1 Nomenclature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
1 Conceptual Design 3
1.1 Proposal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
1.2 Take-o Weight Estimate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
1.3 Wing Loading Selection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
1.4 Main Wing Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
1.5 Fuselage Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
1.6 Horizontal and Vertical Tail Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
1.7 Take-o and Landing Distances . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
1.8 Structure Design and Material Selection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
1.9 Static Stability and Control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
1.10 Performance Predicition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
2 Detailed Design 14
2.1 Wing Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
2.2 Fuselage Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
2.3 Empennage Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
2.4 Landing Gear and FASS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
2.5 Stability Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
3 Aircraft Fabrication 25
3.1 Wing Fabrication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
3.2 Fuselage Fabrication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
3.3 Empanage Fabrication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
3.4 Tail Dragger and Gear . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
4 Flight Testing 29
4.1 Flight Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
4.2 FASS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
1
0.1 Nomenclature
English Greek
AR Aspect Ratio Angle of Bank
C
Do
Drag Polar Coecient of Friction
C
l
2-D Lift Coecient
C
L
3-D Lift Coecient
C
Lmax
Max Lift Coecient
c Chord Length
D Drag Force
D
f
Fuselage Diameter
L Lift Force
L
f
Fuselage Length
n Load Factor
R Turn Radius
S Wing Area
T Thrust
T
max
Max Thrust
V Velocity
V
cruise
Cruise Velocity
V
stall
Stall Speed
W Weight
W.L. Wing Loading
W
TO
Take-o Weight
2
Chapter 1
Conceptual Design
1.1 Proposal
We propose to design, build and conduct ight tests on a remotely piloted aircraft that col-
lects fog concentration data in valleys. The Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) will be designed
to carry an aerosol sampling system and y into the steepest valleys possible for data collec-
tion. For the design competition, a fog generator will be set up in a eld and the UAV will
collect data at two dierent altitudes. The rst will be at approximately 15 feet above the
valley and the second approximately 30 feet. In addition, several conguration constraints
were imposed:
The UAV can be either a tail dragger design with a puller propeller conguration or a
tricycle landing gear with a pusher propeller conguration.
The engine will be the Kontronik FUN480-33 electric motor with an APC 11x7 E
propeller.
The UAV must have sucient internal volume to accommodate the radio control re-
ceiver, the number of servos needed, the micro-controller board, the ight battery,
speed controller and the battery eliminator circuit as well as provide for easy access to
these items.
The Fog Aerosol Sampling System (FASS) device must be securely mounted to the
fuselage.
The primary mission of the UAV is to provide a stable platform for the aerosol sampling
system while providing enough maneuverability to safely y into and out of the valleys.
Therefore, the primary design drivers are static and dynamic stability as well as high turn
and climb rates. In order to provide a stable platform, a high wing design was chosen since
a high wing aircraft is inherently stabilizing. An airfoil with a high maximum lift coecient
was chosen so that the plane will be maneuverable enough to y into and out of the valleys as
well as to turn around within the valleys. In order to collect accurate data, the propeller will
be disengaged briey during ight to allow clean airow into the FASS. Therefore, favorable
glide characteristics act as a secondary design driver.
3
For the fuselage, a basic square cross section was chosen to provide easy mounts for all
the electronic components as well as the landing gear and engine. The fuselage will begin to
taper at the wing tip and continue until the tail. Since the aircraft will be a puller-prop UAV,
a tail-dragger design will be used along with a conventional tail. The FASS device will be
mounted underneath the fuselage since the drag due to the device will provide a stabilizing
moment in pitch. High lift devices will not be necessary since the aircraft has a large thrust
to weight ratio and the main wing airfoil has a high lift coecient. The horizontal and
vertical tails will be at plates to minimize structure weight and manufacturing complexity.
1.2 Take-o Weight Estimate
In order to estimate the take-o weight of the UAV, the following weights in Table 1 were
used for the components of the plane. The total weight assumed 2 small servos for ailerons
and 2 large servos for the rudder and elevator. The goal weight for the wing, fuselage, and
tail structure will be less than or equal to 1.8 lbf. Past groups have achieved a structure
weight around 1 lbf, however for estimating performance, we used a conservative estimate
of the structure weight. During construction, we expect to decrease the nal weight of the
structure to around 1 lbf. This change in weight will improve the ight performance from
the conceptual estimates. The FASS system will be attached with metal clamps that we
estimate will weigh 0.05 lbf. The total weight was estimated to be just over 5 lbf which is
consistent with past trends for comparable UAVs.
Table 1.1: Component Weight Estimates
Component Weight [lbf]
Propeller 0.048
Engine 0.460
Engine Mount 0.085
Speed Controller 0.106
Landing Gear 0.410
Transmitter Receiver 0.031
Large Servo 0.106
Small Servo 0.042
Large Battery 0.966
Flight Recorder 0.094
GPS Module 0.025
FASS 0.750
Metal Clamps 0.050
Structure 1.800
Total Weight 5.121
4
1.3 Wing Loading Selection
In selecting the wing loading, the primary design drivers for the project were considered.
These design drivers are minimum turn radius and a high climb rate in order to maneuver
within the connes of the proposed valley. Due to the fact that the propeller must be disabled
during data acquisition, the glide capabilities of the aircraft will act as a secondary design
driver.
Fortunately, all three of these design drivers call for low wing loading. For comparable
UAVs, low wing loading refers to any wing loading in the range of 18-22 ounces per square
foot (oz/ft
2
), or 1.125-1.375 lbf/ft
2[2]
. Other texts suggest that sport planes, which have
favorable turning and climbing characteristics, have a wing loading between 20-25 oz/ft
2
(1.25-1.5625 lbf/ft
2
)
[3]
.
It was decided to aim for a wing loading of approximately 1.2 lbf/ft
2
. The following is
the denition of wing loading,
W.L. =
W
S
(1.1)
Wing loading is a function of gross weight and wing planform area. With an estimated
aircraft weight of approximately 5 lbf, it can be determined that the planform area of the
wing must be 4.1667 ft
2
. As the aircraft will be own at low subsonic speeds, there is no
need for wing sweep or taper, therefore a rectangular wing planform will be used. Finally,
for the purpose of maneuverability, a relatively small aspect ratio of 6 will be used. With
this nal constraint, the dimensions of the wing were determined.
Ultimately, the aspect ratio and wing dimensions were determined based on the desired
wing loading and approximate weight of the aircraft. This will optimize the primary design
drivers of turning radius and climb rate. Although the glide characteristics will suer due to
the relatively low aspect ratio, this secondary design driver must be compromised in order
to achieve the best possible turning and climbing rates.
1.4 Main Wing Design
Based on the analysis of the optimal wing loading for a UAV, the aspect ratio was chosen
to be 6 and the wing planform area was calculated to be 4.1667 ft
2
. The wingspan was
calculated to be 5.0 ft and the chord was found to be 0.8 ft. In order to meet the primary
design driver of a stable platform for the FASS device, 3

of dihedral will be built into the


main wing.
The primary design drivers of the aircraft that aect the airfoil section are high climb
rate and high turn rate. In order to maximize these performance parameters, the airfoil
section chosen was the GOE 498 shown in Figure 1.1. This airfoil was chosen because of its
high maximum lift coecient of 1.915 as well as its relatively high stall angle of 14.5 degrees.
The airfoil has a thickness of 15.9 % of the chord as well as a 5.5 % camber. The relatively
small amount of camber will make manufacturing the wing easier since there is not a large
amount of curvature on the bottom.
At low subsonic speeds, the eective Mach number seen by the wing does not need to
be changed and therefore there is no benet to adding sweep to the wing. The taper ratio
5
Figure 1.1: GOE 498 Airfoil Cross-Section
was set to 1.0, which corresponds to a rectangular wing. This conguration will be easier
to manufacture and will provide more favorable stall patterns than a highly tapered wing.
With these values set, the wingspan, root chord and wing planform could be calculated. The
wingspan was found to be 5.0 ft and tThe chord was found to be 10 in.
With the size of the wing set, the aerodynamic properties of the wing could be found
using lifting line theory. With the airfoil characteristics and the size of the wing, the wing
drag polar was found to be 0.23. At level ight the lift coecient was found to be 0.51. The
lift to drag ratio was calculated to be 22.36 and the total drag due to the wing calculated as
0.218 lbf.
1.5 Fuselage Design
For the design of the fuselage, the object was to choose a design shape that would be easy
to build, hold all the major components (Battery Pack, Servos, DAQ, and GPS) and also
exhibits a low skin drag. One of the biggest factors when determining the fuselage is to
reduce the blu body eects, thus we decided to have three sections to our fuselage: the
tapered nosecone covering the engine components, the main fuselage to hold all the major
components, and a rear tapered section providing a moment arm to the tail control surfaces.
Based on measurements of previous senior design aircraft and the width of one and half
batteries, the height and width of the main section of the fuselage was chosen to be 3.5 inches
(in.) x 3.5 in. respectively. The diameter was then taken to be the diagonal distance of
this fuselage. The total length was chosen based on a neness ratio (D
f
/L
f
) of 0.11, which
6
is typical for many subsonic commercial aircraft as well as other aircraft in previous design
years. Thus, the aircraft length without the nosecone came out to be 45 inches long.
Based on the fact that the wing would be attached above the fuselage, the wing box
was not considered in determining the volume of the fuselage. The length of the main
fuselage will be based on the main wing positioning. The tapered section of the fuselage
begins immediately after the trailing edge of the wing. Currently the main fuselage length
is estimated to be 18 inches long, resulting in a square box with a volume of 220 in.
3
. After
measuring all the major components their combined total volume came out to be 21.8515
in.
3
(no wires included). This allows for movement of components within the fuselage for
ne adjustments to the center of gravity location.
With the previously described geometry, without including the nosecone, the drag over
the fuselage totals roughly 0.021 lbf, which in turn gives an equivalent coecient of drag for
the fuselage of 0.002192.
1.6 Horizontal and Vertical Tail Design
For ease of design, a conventional tail will be used. This aircraft is functionally compared
to a homebuilt aircraft, so the coecients of the vertical and horizontal tails (0.04 and 0.5
respectively)
[1]
.
In this preliminary stage, the wing is assumed to be mounted at around 11 inches from
the front of the fuselage, in keeping with past comparable designs. For both the horizontal
and vertical tail designs, the surfaces are approximated as at plates by comparing them to
the very thin NACA 0008 airfoil characteristics.
The vertical tail design has a taper ratio of 0.4 and an aspect ratio of 2, giving a slightly
swept appearance. The horizontal tail has no taper, in keeping with the majority of previous
designs featuring a rectangular tail, but has a somewhat larger aspect ratio of 2.5.
These design specications result in a vertical tail area of 0.2688 ft
2
, and a horizontal
tail area of 0.654 ft
2
on either side of the fuselage. Taken as a whole, the tail contributes
0.016 lbf of drag, which does not raise any problems given the max thrust of around 1.3 lbf.
1.7 Take-o and Landing Distances
The take-o and landing distances for the UAV are estimated from C
Do
, A, W
TO
, S, and
T
max
that were found from previous calculations and research. The one propeller engine sets
the thrust. The wing area remained the same since the aps dont extend, which leaves the
wing area at 4.2 ft
2
. The rolling friction coecient for take-o was chosen to best reect
the surface of the eld that the plane will y on; in this case, rm and dry dirt was chosen
with a =.04. The projected landing gear area was predicted to be around 0.5 by looking at
previous UAVs with the desired landing gear style. A climb angle of 5 degrees was chosen
arbitrarily. There is no obstacle to avoid.
From the initial values, the take-o velocity, the dynamic pressure, the wing loading, and
the thrust to weight ratio are calculated. The transition radius as well as the quantities f
1
and
f
2
were calculated. From the inputs, it was shown that ground distance was approximately
7
109.8 ft, or 70% of the take-o distance. The rotation distance was only 22.7% of the total
take-o distance, or around 35.6 ft. The transition distance consisted of 14.5% of the take-o
distance while the climb portion did not matter due to a non-existent obstacle height.
Therefore, the total take-o distance came out to be 168.2 ft. This is compared to the
144.4 ft originally estimated using the take-o parameter based on historical data. They are
somewhat similar but due to including friction and such the take-o distance became longer.
For landing, the approach angle was calculated to be a max of -12.6 degrees. An actual
approach angle of -15 degrees was used. This gave an approach distance of 158.9 ft or 44.4%.
The transition distance consisted of 15.7% of the total landing distance, where the free-roll
distance was 28.5% while the breaking distance was 40.7 ft or 11.4%. The thrust used during
landing was given a reverse thrust of T/W=-1.34. Reverse thrust was considered necessary
to shorten landing distance, although it will not be used in the actual ight test. This
gave a total landing distance of 572.9 ft with the 1.6 pilot correction factor. If we ignore
the correction factor, we get a more reasonable landing distance of 358.1 ft, which is still
relatively large for a UAV. Comparing this distance with the previous distance calculated
from historical data chosen showed that 494.0 ft was a comparable estimate in relation to
these new calculations.
For this analysis, the maximum lift coecient used was 1.44. This gave a C
LG
equal
to 0.8C
lmax
(equal to 1.152). Lift coecient is very important towards take-o and landing
distances. Looking at the distances gave a general idea of how much space the plane needs
to take-o. They however have no impact on the maximum climb rate and turning rate the
plane can achieve. The numbers seem a little high, but some error in calculations is expected
especially since the equations used are not geared towards R/C planes. By watching videos
of planes take o and land from previous years shows that these numbers are in fact high.
At testing, we will assume a much shorter take-o and landing distance.
1.8 Structure Design and Material Selection
The structural characteristics of the conceptual design reect an elementary understanding
of the loads typically applied to remote controlled airplanes. By observation and estimation,
it was determined that the aircraft would be capable of sustaining load factors of between 2
and 3. For a 5 lbf aircraft, these load factors imply that the balsa wood wing would have to
sustain loads of 10 to 15 lbf.
As structural materials are provided and not chosen, the construction of adequate struc-
tural strength is of the utmost importance to the success and performance of the aircraft.
Balsa wood and plywood will be used for everything in the structure except for the landing
gear. The fuselage will feature minimal material, with hollow sections to minimize weight.
The wing will contain strong spars and sucient ribs to hold the shape of the airfoil section.
For manufacturing purposes, the wing has a rectangular planform with no sweep or taper
ratio. Using Prandtl.m, a lift distribution over the wing was determined and is shown in
Figure 1.2.
In order to properly build dihedral into the wing, it will be built in two sections that
will be connected in the middle. This junction will be reinforced with berglass in order to
sustain the large shear forces and bending moments that occur during high loading scenarios
8
Figure 1.2: Lift Distribution Across the Half-Span
such as minimum radius turns and high rates of climb.
Using the maximum C
l
/C
L
, and knowing the maximum 2-D lift coecient of 1.915, it
was determined that the maximum expected 3-D lift coecient is 1.44.
Using expressions relating maximum lift coecient and wing loading to load factor, it
was conrmed that for a wing loading of 1.2 lbf/ft
2
and a maximum lift coecient of 1.44, the
aircraft can achieve instantaneous and sustained turn rates of 108.21 and 67.25 degrees/s,
respectively. According to Corkes relations, the instantaneous and sustained load factors
under these conditions are 2.789 and 1.894, respectively, conrming the estimation that the
aircraft will undergo loads of between 2 and 3 Gs
[1]
.
The eects of gust loading were also investigated. A vertical gust appears as an increase
in angle of attack to the wing, causing a sudden increase in lift applied to the wing. When
ying at or near maximum speeds, a pilot must be aware that even small vertical gusts can
submit aircraft to huge increases in load factor, potentially causing catastrophic failure of
structural parts. As a safety precaution, the aircraft will be designed to withstand vertical
gusts as large as 10 ft/s. During a dive, where the velocity is up to 1.5V
cruise
, an aircraft
could experience an increase in load factor up to 1.23, resulting in a total load factor of 2.23.
For this reason, the aircraft will be designed with a limit load of 3, using a factor of safety
of 1.35.
Using a 3-D C
Lmax
of 1.44 and assuming sea level density, the V-n diagram (Figure 1.3)
was constructed to demonstrate the maximum allowable loads expected during the ight of
the Push it to the Limit.
9
Figure 1.3: V-n Diagram for Conceptual Design
1.9 Static Stability and Control
The stability of the aircraft is the design component that decides the location of electronic
components within the fuselage and wing box. In this preliminary stage it is determined
that all components will be housed in the forward 18 inches of the fuselage, in the section of
the structure that does not taper and takes the shape of a 3.5 inch square rectangular prism.
For purposes of control, two larger servo motors will be placed at the very end of this
section and will be connected to pushrods used to control the elevator and the rudder.
The ailerons are controlled by two smaller servo motors mounted in the wing itself for easy
attachment and replacement should the need arise.
The engine and propeller are mounted out of the front of the fuselage, and the engine
is housed with a separately designed housing piece that attached to the front face of the
fuselage box. The landing gear will be mounted at between 2% and 5% of overall fuselage
length. The large servos are attached at the very back of the 18 inch front fuselage section,
and the small servos are mounted near the aerodynamic center of the wing structure at about
25% of overall length. In this early stage the battery pack is mounted at 10-15%, but the
internal electronic layout will be designed in the detailed stage to allow for as much as 2
inches of shifting of the battery pack in either direction as an easy method of adjusted the
center of gravity location.
Other smaller electronic components are mounted aft of the large battery pack and have
largely insignicant weights. The FASS will be mounted on the planes belly from 5-25% of
overall length and will be attached with clips to allow for variation in this mounting as a
second method of center of gravity shift.
The fuselage structure is estimated at 0.6 lbf, with a wing structure at 0.9 lbf and a
combined tail structure weight of 0.3 lbf. These weights will be greatly rened in the detail
design stage, but at this point the net weight of the plane, including the FASS, falls at just
over the estimated 5 lbs.
10
In the current conguration, the plane is longitudinally stable with a static margin of
0.032, which is low to allow for maneuverability. Dynamically, a CMA coecient of 0.2955
is also stable. The plane is also directionally stable at a margin of 0.099. To allow for roll
stability, a few degrees of dihedral will be implemented into the main wing in the detailed
design. Currently, it is estimated that (in keeping with past designs) the rudder area will
take up 50% of the vertical tail area and the elevator will be at least 30% of the horizontal
tail area.
The majority of past design reports have indicated that upon conclusion of the prelimi-
nary design review, the tail surface areas have been increased by as much as 50%. Therefore,
in the detailed design, a signicant change in tail size and shape is expected.
1.10 Performance Predicition
In order to predict the performance of the aircraft, it was necessary to consider a free body
diagram of the aircraft in motion. Figure 1.4 below demonstrates the forces acting on an
aircraft engaged in a bank turn.
Figure 1.4: Free Body Diagram of Aircraft in Bank
[4]
By analyzing a force balance, it is shown that for an aircraft ying in steady level ight,
engaged in a bank turn, the load factor is a function of the angle of bank according to
n = cos() (1.2)
In the conceptual design, the maximum angle of bank is based on an assumed design load
factor. Computing the forces in the radial direction and rearranging, it can be shown that
the radius of the turn is a function of the velocity and the load factor according to
R =
V
2
g tan()
(1.3)
The minimum radius of turn will occur at the lowest possible velocity with the highest
angle of bank, representing the maximum load factor. For a maximum load factor of 3, the
sustained turn radius is 9.9 ft, and the plane will be able to make a full 180 turn in under
20 ft. Considering a more realistic and conservative load factor of 2, the minimum radius
turn is 16.15 ft, resulting in a full turn with a diameter of 32.30 feet. These predictions
demonstrate that the aircraft should be capable of ying within the limits of the 90 ft wide
valley.
11
The climb angle and rate of climb are important performance characteristics to optimize,
as the valley walls have a slope of over 60. Unfortunately, the thrust to weight ratio is not
large enough to achieve a climb angle this high. By considering the excess power of the
engine during climb conditions, and balancing the thrust, lift and drag forces acting on the
aircraft, the rate of climb and thus climb angle were determined. At a velocity of 44 ft/s,
with an aircraft weight of 5 lbf, thrust of 1.3 lbf and drag of 0.3 lbf, the climb rate was
computed to be 8.8 ft/s, representing a climb angle of 11.5.
12
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13
Chapter 2
Detailed Design
With the conceptual design completed, the next step in the design process is to complete
a detailed design of the aircraft. In order to improve the perfomance of the aircraft, it was
decided to add taper to the wings. This reduces the weight of the wings and therefore reduces
the amount of strucure needed to hold the wing in place. The tapered wings also allow for
increased maneuverability and increased rate of climb due to the reduced weight.
2.1 Wing Design
The main wing incorporates a taper ratio of 0.4 for greater maneuverability. The wing has
2 degrees of dihedral. It will be constructed out of 16 ribs positioned 4 inches apart, secured
together by a carbon ber leading edge spar and two basswood quarter-chord spars. Thin
strips of balsa sheeting will be used for the upper and lower caps on each rib, and a piece
of balsa webbing will connect neighboring ribs. Each rib will have two large lightening holes
that will allow for installation of electronics and pitot tube instrumentation. The leading
edge spar will measure 0.210 inches in diameter, and run through small holes placed tangent
to the leading edge radius of the rib. The upper and lower quarter-chord spars will be 1/4
inch basswood, and will sit in square cutouts on each rib. Ribs 3 through 8 will have the aft
25% of the chord removed. A thin ply spar will be installed along the truncated trailing edge
of these ribs which will allow for ailerons to be mounted with plastic tabs. By nature of the
wing taper, the ailerons will also taper toward the wingtips. The ailerons will be constructed
from 3 inch aileron stock, which will be cut to accommodate the necessary taper.The center
wingbox, measuring 3.5 inches wide atop the fuselage, will be fully sheeted in 1/16 inch balsa
wood. The remainder of the wing will have a leading edge wrapped in 1/16 balsa wood back
to 30% of the chord length, and a trailing edge wrap will be 25% of the chord length.
2.2 Fuselage Design
The fuselage was designed to minimize the overall weight of the structure and was split into
two oset halves to increase structural integrity. We started with a base design made of balsa
wood and then cut out triangle sections to reduce the weight. A simple cut out was made in
order for simplicity in the construction process. Also dierent sections of the fuselage needed
14
to be made out of the light plywood in order to hold heavier parts. These pieces included
the deck plate below the battery and above the FASS, landing gear, and the tail dragger.
Also the rewall behind the engine was made of light plywood.
2.3 Empennage Design
The tail was designed with 1/4 inch balsa sticks in order to form the plate structure of
the horizontal and vertical tail surfaces. For the the rudder and elevator we used the balsa
trailing edge stock. In order to reduce weight we cut out circular portions of the stock. Since
the horizontal tail was placed into the rear of the fuselage, the center of the horizontal tail
was made out of balsa stock.
2.4 Landing Gear and FASS
In order to design the landing gear the desired angle of attack of the wing for take o was
calculated based on the weight of the airplane and take o speed. This angle of attack was
based on 80% of the max lift of the wing. This calculation resulted in the desired height
of the front of the fuselage. The front landing gear was made out of aluminum and then
circular pieces were cut out to reduce the overall weight.
2.5 Stability Considerations
Using Pro/E and the detailed design, the center of gravity of the assembled aircraft was found
to be 10.21 in. from the front of the fuselage. Assuming that the center of lift is at the quarter
chord, the static margin was found to be 0.89 which means the aircraft is longitudinally
stable. However, this static margin is not so large as to inhibit maneuverability. As an
added precaution, there is enough room to move the battery up to two inches either forward
or aft to achieve longitudinal static stability.
15
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24
Chapter 3
Aircraft Fabrication
The aircraft was constructed using materials purchased from hobby suppliers, chiey hobby
wood (balsa, basswood, and thin plywood), RC Monokote covering, and cyanoacrylate (CA)
glue. Other materials for construction, such as servo pushrod connections and berglass
tape, were provided to groups in a standard kit. For pieces requiring precise fabrication,
design was carried out in PRO/E and actual pieces were cut using a special laser cutter in
the basement of Fitzpatrick Hall.
3.1 Wing Fabrication
Wing fabrication began by determining rib sizing and prole. Using these layouts, 16 ribs
were cut (2 each of 8 dierent sizes to form a 40% taper) with the laser cutter. These
ribs were cut from
1
8
-inch balsa, with the exception of four ribs that were cut from
1
8
-inch
plywood. Two plywood ribs on either side of the wing allowed for a secure mounting platform
for
1
4
-inch-square basswood sticks, into which small aileron servos could be screwed. Using a
special wing construction jig, the ribs were spaced at a constant distance of 4 inches for the
entire wingspan.
With the ribs positioned,
1
4
-inch-square spar rods were glued to notches cut in the top
and bottom of each rib. Since the wing was tapered and the spars were mounted on roughly
the quarter-chord of each rib, the spars did not join perfectly in the wing center. At this
point, the two wing halves were joined at the spar with a liberal application of berglass
tape and epoxy. Additionally, the leading edge of the wing held its shape by way of a
1
4
-inch
diameter hardwood dowel that ran the whole span of the wing.
To reinforce construction, a piece of
1
4
-inch balsa was added between the spars in the
space between the ribs. This eectively resulted in an I-beam design, which was then further
stiened by adding a sandwich piece of
1
8
-inch plywood glued directly to the spar rods on
one side of the I-beam. The leading edge was then wrapped in
1
16
-inch balsa sheeting. This
wrap extended to the spars at the quarter-chord.
Of the eight ribs, the ve outboard ribs on either side had 25% of the aft chord length
removed. Across these ribs, a plywood plate was mounted for the purpose of creating a
secure mounting surface for ailerons. The ailerons themselves were created using trailing-
edge balsa stock, which was cut and shaped to taper along with the wing. These ailerons
25
Figure 3.1: Gold Leader constructing the wing
were mounted to the hardwood surface at four points on either side and were controlled with
a single small servo on either side.
To complete the design, the inboard trailing edge was wrapped in
1
16
-inch balsa, and the
entire middle section (between the two most inboard ribs in the center) was sheeted similarly
from front to back. A square section in the bottom of the wing center was left open for access
to servo connections and pressure taps leading to a pitot tube, mounted on a wingtip. In
this way, connections to the fuselage could be made quickly, and the wing could be mounted
simply with rubber bands. Following a few further simple additions, such as thin cap strips
added to the tops and bottoms of ribs and plates added around the servo horns, the wing
was wrapped in Monokote, and the iconic eagle design was added.
3.2 Fuselage Fabrication
The main fuselage structure was designed in PRO/E and cut from large pieces of balsa using
the laser cutter. This preliminary structure was secured with CA glue. The preliminary
structure consisted of the sides glued to a frontal base portion, followed by attachment of a
back base portion achieved by bending the side pieces and bottom piece to eectively form
a seamless taper in the rear section. Support beams were added throughout the fuselage
along the base and in the corners to reinforce the structure to allow for joint strength and
the mounting of a landing gear.
The top portion of the aft section of the fuselage was added after component placement
was determined. This top section included mounting holes for small servo motors that
controlled the rudder and elevator. These mounting points were reinforced with small strips
of hardwood for strength. Internally, rewalls were added for torsional rigidity, with a front
26
rewall made of hardwood acting as a mounting point for the engine bracket.
Figure 3.2: Laser cutter in operation
The front section of the fuselage was left open at the top, as this was the section over
which the wing would be mounted. This wing saddle section was reinforced with light
plywood and saddle cushions were added. Short dowels were added on top to act as tie
points for the rubber bands that would hold the wing in place. A small access door was
designed to be placed over components during ight, but this piece was left unattached. The
fuselage was then covered in Monokote, with holes cut out of the Monokote in the aft section
of the fuselage to allow for airfoil and FASS component access.
3.3 Empanage Fabrication
The stick-built horizontal and vertical tail layouts were determined in PRO/E. For ease of
construction, these layouts were plotted full-scale on large sheets of paper to provide an
accurate template for tail construction. The entirety of the tail was constructed using
1
4
-
inch-square balsa sticks, which were cut to specic sizes using the template. The structures
of the horizontal and vertical tails each consisted of nine pieces and were glued together
using the plotted templates for accuracy. The horizontal tail also included a center support
plate cut from
1
4
-inch balsa sheet using a band saw.
The rudder and elevator were cut from
1
4
-inch balsa sheets using a band saw. It was
determined that adding lightening holes in these surfaces would carry a high strength penalty
and was not overall benecial in terms of weight, so the pieces remained solid. The leading
edges of these surfaces were rounded with sandpaper to allow the pieces to hinge. Hinge slots
in these pieces were cut with an X-acto knife for the insertion of CA hinges to connect the
surfaces to the tail structures. Lastly, holes were drilled in the center plate of the horizontal
27
tail. This was for the purpose of allowing the bottom sticks of the vertical tail to slot in and
the tail to remain squarely positioned. All parts were then Monokoted.
3.4 Tail Dragger and Gear
A detailed PRO/E drawing of the desired landing gear was produced and presented to the
Notre Dame AME machinist, who fabricated the gear structure from aluminum sheeting.
Holes for wheel axles were not included, so these were drilled on each end of the gear. Rubber
wheels were xed onto the axles with two set-screw stoppers, and the axles were attached to
the gear structure. Four holes were also drilled into the structures top with a drill press to
mount the gear to the fuselage belly.
The tail dragger was constructed with triangular scrap pieces of
1
8
-inch balsa sheeting.
These were glued together with CA glue and then sanded to the desired shape and size. The
piece was then Monokoted except for the top surface, where it was glued to the fuselage with
epoxy to strengthen the attachment against any strong ground forces.
28
Chapter 4
Flight Testing
4.1 Flight Data
Flight testing took place over a two day period at the South Bend Radio Control air eld
located 15 miles south of Notre Dame. On Day 1 of ight testing, the FASS sensor was
removed from the aircraft. The rst ight served primarily to allow the pilots ample oppor-
tunity to become familiar with the aircraft, and to ensure that center of gravity location was
correct. The second ight tested the planes acrobatic performance, with the pilots perform-
ing minimum radius turns, extreme climb and descent rates, and various acrobatic stunts.
During Day 2 of ight testing, the FASS sensor was reattached to collect fog data. The rst
ight with the FASS attached was used to determine the ight characteristics and acrobatic
capabilities of the aircraft with the new payload. The second and third ights were used to
collect fog data.
According to the Flight Test Program, the pilots gathered ight performance data at
altitudes ranging from 30 to 300 feet. The pilots completed minimum radius turns at low
altitudes in order to simulate performance in a low level valley. Using data gathered from
Day 2, the minimum instantaneous and sustained turn rates and their corresponding turning
radii were calculated. The results are shown below in Table 4.1.
Table 4.1: Predicted and Actual Turning Characteristics
Actual Instantaneous Sustained
Turn Rate 173.5

/sec 35.3

/sec
Turn Radius 11.9 feet 96.8 feet
Predicted Instantaneous Sustained
Turn Rate 108.2

/sec 67.2

/sec
Turn Radius 23.38 feet 37.6 feet
The instantaneous turn rate and radius achieved during the ight test were much better
than predicted. However, the sustained turn characteristics were not as impressive as those
expected according to the spreadsheet.
29
Figure 4.1: Completed aircraft prior to testing
Also of importance is the climbing capability of the aircraft. By analyzing several points
from the Day 1 data, a hodograph for climb performance at low level altitude was produced.
Figure 4.2: Hodograph for climb performance
According to Figure 4.2, the maximum rate of climb is 16.81 feet/sec. With a horizontal
30
speed of 51.94 feet/sec, the angle of ascent is 17.9

. However, to achieve a maximum angle


of ascent, the aircraft must y at vertical and horizontal speeds of 14.17 and 37.4 feet/sec,
respectively. This results in a maximum angle of climb of 20.8

. By analyzing the descent


angles used on nal approach for landing, the average descent rate was found to be -10.87
feet/sec.
With the data collected, an ideal valley could be created for this plane design to y
through. Using the wall slope of 2 given, the minimum valley width was found to be 81.8ft
using a smallest turning radius of 96.8ft. By leaving the valley length at 500ft as initially
given, the maximum height of the valley was found to be 256.5ft using the maximum sus-
tained climb angle of 20.8

starting from 15 ft. Other methods of leaving the valley, like


constant turning while increasing height and just ying through the middle of the valley and
climbing out, could be used for leaving smaller or taller valleys if necessary. In theory, no
valley should be a problem.
Figure 4.3: Hypothetical Valley
4.2 FASS
The Fog Aerosol Sampling Sensor (FASS) was attached for the last two ights. In the rst
of the two ights, relative humidity data was collected which indicated ambient relative
humidity at an average of about 59-61%, with spikes as high as 70% and dips as low as 52%.
In this ight, the FASS did not indicate that meaningful readings were collected by the fog
concentration sensor. In the second FASS ight, neither sensor detected meaningful changes
in ambient humidity and fog concentration. This could have been due to a faulty electrical
connection or issues capturing a usable sample of fog.
4.3 Improvements
Although our plane was successful in its ights, performace and structure could have been
improved upon. More rudder and elevator surface area could have been added to improve
the aerodynamic performance. Structurally, the fuselage could have been made of more
31
plywood, so that less reinforcements were required, thus reducing weight. The ribs had to
be redesigned to use the jig. Construction of the wing could have been more ecient as well.
During monokoting, dowel rods to hold the wing to the fuselage should be added after the
monokote is done to allow for a at surface. All in all these minor improvements were not
necessary to produce a spectacular aircraft.
32
Bibliography
[1] Corke, Thomas C., Design of Aircraft. Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ.
Published 2003.
[2] Lennon, A.G. R/C Model Airplane Design. Motorbooks International Publishers &
Wholesalers, Inc. Osceola, WI. Published 1986.
[3] Lennon, A.G. R/C Model Aircraft Design: Practical Techniques for Building Better
Models. Air Age Media, Inc. Wilton, CT. Published 1996.
[4] Bower, A.F. Introduction to Dynamics and Vibrations. 3.2 Calculating Forces Re-
quired to Cause Prescribed Motion of a Particle. School of Engineering, Brown Univer-
sity. Published 2011. http://www.engin.brown.edu/courses/en4/Notes/Particles_
PrescribedMotion/Particles_PrescribedMotion.htm
33