New Approaches to Conceptual and Preliminary Aircraft Design: A Comparative Assessment of a Neural Network Formulation and a Response Surface Methodology
This paper critically evaluates the use of Neural Networks (NNs) as metamodels for design applications. The specifics of implementing a NN approach are researched and discussed, including the type and architecture appropriate for design-related tasks, the processes of collecting training and validation data, and training the network, resulting in a sound process, which is described. This approach is then contrasted to the Response Surface Methodology (RSM). As illustrative problems, two equations to be approximated and a real-world problem from a Stability and Controls scenario, where it is desirable to predict the static longitudinal stability for a High Speed Civil Transport (HSCT) at takeoff, are presented. This research examines Response Surface Equations (RSEs) as Taylor series approximations, and explains their high performance as a proven approach to approximate functions that are known to be quadratic or near quadratic in nature.