Designing Novel Efficient and Quiet Amphibious Aircraft for General Aviation
LIEM Rhea Patricia
Insufficient land area has often imposed limitations in airport development. As such, some areas are not easily accessible by air. One implication is that travels can only be done via land or water, which prolongs the travel time. In most cases, this involves some rural areas where the infrastructures are not very well-developed, and/or where the geographical terrains are too challenging to even build a pad for VTOL air vehicles. Under such a circumstance, it is even more imperative to enable air travels to carry critical logistics such as medical supplies, food, and even sick patients.
In this project, we would explore some design feasibility of amphibious aircraft concept. We would play around with a model airplane (based on Icon A5), modifying some components (e.g., wing and tail) to experiment with some design changes to improve the performance. We would like to explore the feasibility of including hydrofoils in the design as well, which is believed to improve the water takeoff performance of the aircraft. The incorporation of hydrofoils, however, might compromise the aerodynamic performance, especially during cruise. We would like to investigate this conflicting objectives.
This project is multidisciplinary in nature. Students will work together and they might be divided into sub teams working on aircraft design, structures, control, energy/propulsive system, and aeroacoustics. On top of that, all sub teams must be able to work together and manage the seamless interaction between the different disciplines. This project would serve as a nice platform to experiment with unorthodox ideas, and to make it work.
Students will first identify the flight mission requirements for the aircraft (e.g., altitudes, mission ranges and payload), propose some key design features they want to explore and study, and incorporate them to the model aircraft (or build it from scratch, if preferred). They will then build the prototype and do flight tests.
Applicant's Learning Objectives:
At the completion of the project, students will experience the typical design cycle of an aircraft system. They will be exposed to the different subsystems in the aircraft and know the interdisciplinary relationship among them, i.e., how changing one parameter will affect the others. Students would know how to perform the basic analyses of the aircraft performance and interpret the results. Communication skill is another important aspect of the project, both in maintaining a solid teamwork between the different sub teams and in presenting the work (oral and written).