Over both semesters we go through a complete design. Starting from scratch, the team researches all aspects of airplane design, and employs multiple tools and techniques to develop a balanced and optimized design.
Computational fluid dynamics software is used to analyze airflow over the aircraft, and finite-element analysis software is used to determine its structural characteristics.
This process is almost identical to that of building a new full scale airframe and offers invaluable experience for those members who want to get involved in real life work environment.
After the design has been finalized and all the simulations are done the manufacturing begins. All parts of the airframe are made by members of the team using the tools and equipment owned by the club, as well as some more specialized machines owned by other university organizations.
All of these parts are then assembled into the final product and the electronics are installed, completing the airframe. Flight testing is then done to ensure that everything performs to specifications.
Students learn how to operate laser cutters, 3D printers, high-tech milling machines, and more, to bring the design to life.
The flagship product is created for AIAA's Design-Build-Fly competiton which usually takes place in Kansas or Arizona. Schools from all over the world (primarily from the US) compete to design and manufacture the best RC aircraft that meets the provided "mission profile".
The compeititon provides valuable real-world aircraft design experience for engineering students by offering an opportunity to validate their analytic studies.