1997-10-01

Student Evolution of an Unconventional Flying Wing Configuration 975636

A student aircraft design project is described. The project involved designing, building, and flying a radio-controlled aircraft which can lift a maximum amount of weight using a limited amount of power and planform area, as an entry in the SAE Aero Design West competition. The rules of the contest stimulated students to attempt to build a flying-wing aircraft configuration which could use highly-cambered, high-lift airfoils along its entire span. The students' design and analysis process, and the innovative analysis methods they developed to model this unconventional configuration are described. Characteristics of the resulting aircraft are described. The students were successful in building an all-wing aircraft with highly-cambered airfoils across its entire span, however adverse effects of ground effect limited the aircraft's weight-lifting capability to less than half of what the students predicted.

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