MAE4410 - Flight vehicle design - 2019

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 2019 (On-campus)


(MAE1041 or MAE2405), MAE2404


MAE3402Not offered in 2019


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, and 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.


At the successful completion of this unit you will be able to:

  1. Justify preliminary aircraft sizing based on mission requirements and weight correlations.
  2. Draw upon constraint analysis to size aircraft propulsion and lifting surfaces to meet specified performance requirements.
  3. Generate aircraft layouts to appropriate Joint Aviation Requirements (JARs).
  4. Predict aircraft drag polars by a variety of methods.
  5. Construct an appropriately dimensioned and labelled 3-view drawing of final aircraft design.
  6. Manage the distribution of aircraft components to appropriately locate the aircraft centre of gravity.


NOTE: From 1 July 2019, the duration of all exams is changing to combine reading and writing time. The new exam duration for this unit is 2 hours and 10 minutes.

Continuous assessment: 70%

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

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of 4-6 hours of scheduled learning activities and 6-8 hours independent study per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement. Independent study may include associated readings, assessment and preparation for scheduled activities. If independent study during mid-semester break, SWOTVAC and exam periods are included, the total workload can exceed the minimum expected workload.

See also Unit timetable information