MAE3402 - Aerospace design project - 2018

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Chief examiner(s)

Professor Chris Davies


Professor Hugh Blackburn

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2018 (On-campus)


(MAE1041 or MAE2405), MAE2404 and MEC2402


On completion of this unit students will have an understanding of the key elements of aircraft performance analysis as used in aerospace vehicle design. A student project involving the initial design stages of a flight vehicle will integrate these studies. Various characteristics of aircraft performance and their design implications will be examined including whole-aircraft drag polar, power plant characterisation, thrust required in level flight, maximum speed estimation, minimum speed and high-lift devices, rate of climb, gliding, range, endurance, accelerated flight, structural limitations on performance, design for longitudinal and lateral stability. Mission analysis and preliminary weight estimation based on a design concept will be examined together with the aerodynamic synthesis to satisfy performance requirements, power plant selection, overall vehicle layout and balance. Trade-offs as a necessary part of the design will be apparent to students on completion of this unit.


On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Produce a preliminary aircraft weight estimate from a supplied mission profile and aircraft category
  2. Generate initial estimates of aircraft wing area and propulsion capacity given a supplied aircraft category and mission profile
  3. Choose an appropriate layout of aircraft elements given supplied aircraft category and mission profile
  4. Produce a dimensioned and appropriately labelled three-view line diagram of an aircraft layout
  5. Estimate aircraft drag polar coefficients from a given geometry and mission profile using a drag-buildup method
  6. Choose and size an appropriate wing airfoil and high-lift system for a given aircraft category and performance requirement
  7. Comprehend and apply aircraft performance analysis particular to the choice of aircraft wing loadings and thrust (or power) to weight ratios in order to meet specified performance constraints
  8. Estimate aircraft component group weights from available correlations, and to incorporate these into a refined weight estimate for a given aircraft layout, size and mission profile
  9. Arrange aircraft components in order to place the centre of gravity in a desired location
  10. Choose and locate landing gear components appropriate to the aircraft category and weight
  11. Size and locate tail surfaces to achieve a desired static longitudinal stability and control effectiveness
  12. Provide a scaled, dimensioned and appropriately labelled three-view line diagram of an aircraft
  13. Understand the concepts of simple design optimisation via investigation of design choice alternatives


Continuous assessment: 70%

Final Examination (2 hours): 30%

Students are required to achieve at least 45% in the total continuous assessment component and at least 45% in the final examination component and an overall mark of 50% to achieve a pass grade in the unit. Students failing to achieve this requirement will be given a maximum of 45% in the unit.

Workload requirements

3 hours lectures, 4 hours practice sessions or laboratories and 5 hours of private study per week.

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study