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  • Aeroplane Design

    Hello

    Whats the basics behind a new aircraft design, say one penned a new microlight how could you go to design / build / test stages as a one man pony show.

    Thanks All

  • #2
    Aeroplane Design

    There's a lot to learn, but its very interesting.

    Start with some reading, the LAA website has some useful stuff, including recommended books:

    http://www.lightaircraftassociation.co.uk/2010/Engineering/aircraft_design.html

    For a first aircraft design a single seat microlight is a good choice, as you only have to convince yourself that its safe enough, rather than the BMAA/LAA/CAA. However, the design code BCAR Section S, available on the CAA website, is a very useful source of hard-learnt info whichever route you take.

    But go carefully, talk to people, learn from others' mistakes. There's a long tradition of aircraft designers dying in their creations!

    Regards,
    Paul.

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    • #3
      Aeroplane Design

      You've got to be immensely keen to design one from scratch!

      If it's a flexwing you have in mind, perhaps the more pragmatic approach would be to buy a commercially available wing which is proven, but then design yourself a trike to hang from it. Say, take a touch, spirit or cyclone wing from John at Aceaviation (http://www.aceaviation.co.uk/)

      There is still a lot to learn, even just doing that.

      Although if you then consider the cost of a complete solution vs the effort of doing your own - you might change your mind quickly :-)

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      • #4
        Aeroplane Design

        Fixed wing, based on the Sonix Jet but design a 100% electric version with a front mounted motor.

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        • #5
          Aeroplane Design

          Sounds like an excellent project... You're going to need a lot of time on that, go for it!

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          • #6
            Aeroplane Design

            Thanks Andy!

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            • #7
              Aeroplane Design

              Good luck Reece

              Put together an ancient flexwing in the early 1990s, flew it around after discovering and fixing the reasons it wouldn't fly, then added a bigger fuel tank to give more range; that ended up in a tree and nearly ended my ability to breathe...Mounting a motor is great fun, just done one and after a couple of years de-bugging have got reasonable reliability and range, but doing that while balancing minor details like the ability of the airframe to lift and stability is manufacturer territory.

              Most seem to to pick up a cheap and well tried airframe like the Airbike or similar and hang the electric power off that, then when the motor bits are right set about the rest, even then it would make sense to cannibalise things like wings off something with provenance.

              Flylight have done serious work on electric power for a fixed wing, you may find it shortens your task a lot by working with them instead of reinventing the wheel? Flexwings are easy, as Andy says grab a decent off the shelf wing and make yourself a trike, although the inherently draggy nature of a flex makes your choice of a fixed wing for viable electric power the better one.

              Good luck and look forward to reading about you in the magazine, not the AAIB bulletins...;-)

              Cheers

              Kev

              Proud holder of the WFAeC Bill Bodger Award two years running
              G-KEVA
              BMAA 5696

              "If anybody ever tells you anything about an aeroplane which is so bloody complicated you can't understand it, take it from me: it's all balls."

              R.J. Mitchell :- Designer of the Supermarine Spitfire

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              • #8
                Aeroplane Design

                Haha thanks Kev, let's see what the future holds!

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                • #9
                  Aeroplane Design

                  Haha thanks Kev, let's see what the future holds!

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                  • #10
                    Aeroplane Design

                    Hi Reece (and any other interested readers).

                    Two questions;
                    How much maths do you know?

                    Would I be right in thinking you are planning an all-metal airframe (like the Sonex)?

                    If you don't have college level maths then two books I would go for are;

                    “Simplified Mechanics and Strength of Materials”, by Parker and Ambrose, published by Wiley interscience.

                    I really like this book, it attempts to teach you Statics without using any calculus and is worth anybody working their way through for the insight and understanding you can achieve.

                    “Stress without Tears”, by Tom Rhodes, published by Jacobs.

                    You should be able to get this via the LAA. “a primer on airccraft-stress analysis requiring no advanced mathematics”. Does what it says on the tin. It's a series of 42 articles published in “Kitplanes” magazine.

                    If you are familiar with Calculus then possibly the best single book is “Design of Light Aircraft” by R Hiscocks, self published by the Hiscocks and available through the LAA.

                    “Analysis and Design of Airplane structures” by E.F.Bruhn. I don't know who publishes this. I do know there are a lot of different editions. You should probably get the last edition you can find. This has much more than other books on metal structures.

                    Books that I think will cost you money and not add to your success (this is just my opinion);

                    “Design of the Aeroplane”, by Daryl Stinton. This contains a huge amount of information very little of which is relevant at the microlight scale.

                    “Flight without Formula”. A.C.Kermode. I'd be surprised if you don't already know most of what's in this book.

                    Hope that's helpful.
                    Laurie (2)

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                    • #11
                      Aeroplane Design

                      Thank you all for the input!

                      No I think a metal air frame would add too much weight! Fibreglass probably ideal..

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                      • #12
                        Aeroplane Design

                        Hi Reece,
                        I suspect fibregalss is a lot more difficult to get a predictable strength and weight that metal. More knowledgeable people than me on here would be able to advise on that.

                        Joan

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                        • #13
                          Aeroplane Design

                          Glass fibre structures of sufficient strength and other necessary mechanical properties like torsional stiffness can be surprisingly heavy (as anyone who has rigged a modern sailplane will know). Carbon fibre on the other hand would be ideal - but its expensive and impossible to work with without specialised kit like autoclaves. The development of the eGo should give you some ideas about whats required to make an SSDR aircraft in composite materials.

                          Why not wood? Loads of projects use wood, and for good reason - less hard to work with but with many of the advantages of composites, and we've collectively got a longer history of using it in airframes than anything else.
                          Martin Watson
                          Microlights in Norfolk
                          Fixed Wing Instruction - Exams and GSTs - Revalidations
                          07805 716407

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                          • #14
                            Aeroplane Design

                            What's the likes of Jab / Eurostar made with?

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                            • #15
                              Aeroplane Design

                              Quick Google research shows that the Eurostar airframe is all metal, and the Jabiru, depending on model is stressed skin composite on either a foam or built-up core plus various metal bits and pieces. That's me out of ideas beyond that.
                              Have fun with your design project.
                              Joan

                              PS. you might also like to read this: http://bmaa.org/files/til029_1_desig..._aeroplane.pdf

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