Research and Education in Aircraft Design (READ) edition:2012 location:Brno university, Czech Republic date:17 - 19 October 2012
The KHBO Aerospace Engineering Department offers many types of aerospace related trainings ranging from a professional bachelor in aerospace technology (flight technicians) or a professional bachelor in ATPL (pilots) to a Master in aerospace engineering. A cooperation exists between the aerospace department of Catholic University of Leuven (KULeuven) allowing their students to work on KHBO assignments.
This paper reports on the work that has been performed in the context of a 2-year research program concerning the development of a new UAS platform at the Aerospace Engineering Department of the KHBO in Belgium. It is developed together with both educational, research and industrial partners. The UAS platform is aimed at performing scientific missions along the Belgian coast line above the North Sea. The main performance requirement of the 65kg UAS is a range of 160km with a payload of 5kg. A propulsion system of two electrical brushless DC motors has been selected in order to minimize the environmental impact during operation by avoiding gas emissions and reducing noise emissions.
Designing an entire UAS platform from scratch in two years is a short term and much parallel research was performed both by lecturers, researchers as well as students. Students from all levels both within KHBO and KULeuven were employed to develop many aspects required for the UAS.
The first step was to set the main requirements, both essential and optional. Afterwards, a decision had to be made on the UAS configuration. An initial three configurations were selected for which a conceptual design in CATIA was made together with an aerodynamic analysis by Master students during lab sessions. A lifting canard configuration was found to be most energy efficient and was selected for further development.
During the detailed design phase the design of the aircraft was refined, the systems developed and the legislation investigated. The main design of the aircraft was mainly done by the project leader based on input of calculations, lecturers, specialists and evaluated student data. Several research and development aspects were assigned to students according to their field: the catapult design, the design and manufacturing of a motor test stand, the integration of the UAS into civil airspace, the electrical and thermal analysis, the aerodynamic CFD analysis, the landing gear design, the electrical system design and manufacturing, … Different types of supervision were used depending on the workload, student availability and task difficulty. So were normal lessons used, professional bachelor/master theses, internal/external internships, Erasmus projects and integrated practicums.
Parallel to the main UAS platform development project, multiple UAS related projects were performed. Two professional bachelor students calculated, designed and built a 12kg UAS used by the federal police for fire detection. As a Master thesis, two Master students first reverse engineered, then doubled the payload of an existing UAS.