Browse Publications Technical Papers 2011-01-2696

Seaplane Conceptual Design 2011-01-2696

The seaplane industry expanded widely between the periods of World War I and World War II. Seaplanes were commonly used by military water rescue missions, reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare7. However, with the introduction of new efficient aircraft designs and suitable landplane infrastructure, the use of the seaplanes declined. No new advanced designs have been created, and most seaplanes existing these days are approaching its final operating life. The purpose of this paper is to introduce a new advance concept design for a seaplane, in which costs caused by manufacturing and regulations will be reduce. In order to reduce these costs, existing aircrafts presented will be configured into a seaplane by adding a floating device. Many proposed ideas were analyzed, but due to the complexity and high costs of some of these, it was decided to use retractable floats to reduce drag and a trimaran boat hull to increase hydrodynamic performance of the seaplane. Based on the results, the use of composite materials reduces the amount of weight generated by the boat hull and floats by 50% compared to other materials, therefore increasing payload and fuel weight. The use of retractable floats decreased aerodynamic drag to a 5% compared to the floats in an extended position. The seaplane in the retracted position improve the flight performance in which less thrust is generated, a greater turn radius for steady level turn was observed, higher absolute and service ceiling values were obtained, and better speed performance is given in each of the flight segments (takeoff, climb, descent, and landing). In general, retractable floats gave a great improvement in thrust and level turn, especially at high speeds. A final CAD model representation was elaborate to calculate the dimensions, observe the mechanism of the retractable floats, and show the location and function of the trimaran boat hull. In the near future, with the aid of this CAD model, an extended research will be conducted on the use of trimaran technology, hydrodynamic performance, structural analysis, and aerodynamic stability in order to analyze the risks and advantages on the use of retractable floats and trimaran technology on this seaplane design.


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