Date of Award

12-2012

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Department

Mechanical Engineering

Committee Chair

William A. Engblom, Ph. D.

First Committee Member

Snorri Gudmundsson, M.S.

Second Committee Member

Glenn P. Greiner, M.S.

Abstract

A high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial airframe was designed for the innovative Dual-Aircraft Atmospheric Platform flight concept that exploits stratospheric wind velocity gradients to remain aloft indefinitely. Classical aircraft preliminary design techniques and high-fidelity tools were used to establish a baseline configuration.

Performance characteristics of numerous airfoil profiles were evaluated with two-dimensional flow software in an effort to determine the best-candidate airfoil for the unique application. Vortex-Lattice method tools were used to investigate the sensitivity of three-dimensional design parameters upon overall vehicle aerodynamic performance and determine both static and dynamic stability characteristics of the airframe. Performance capabilities of the finalized airframe are demonstrated in a flight envelope diagram with applied gust loads per the Federal Aviation Regulations. The innovative tandem-wing design exhibits exceptional performance characteristics required for the flight concept.

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