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* Corresponding author. Fax: #34-91-3366366.

E-mail address: rmval@dva.dva.upm.es (R. MartmH nez-Val)


Aircraft Design 2 (1999) 167}182
Preliminary design of a low speed, long endurance
remote piloted vehicles (RPV) for civil applications
Rodrigo MartmH nez-Val*, Carlos HernaH ndez
ETSI Aerona& uticos, Universidad Polite& cnica de Madrid, Plaza Cardenal Cisneros 3, 28040 Madrid, Spain
Abstract
The present paper describes the major features of an unmanned air vehicle, designed under very severe
safety and performance requirements for missions of surveillance of borders and coasts, "re detection, and
search and rescue. Because of safety reasons, two engines are mandatory for the aircraft. Additionally, the
mission requirements can be translated into initial speci"cations in the following terms: payload not less than
42 kg, cruise speed between 120 and 150 km/h, maximum speed higher than 200 km/h, cruise altitude of
3000 m, service ceiling higher than 4000 m, autonomy around 15 h, gliding distance covered after full engine
failure greater than 100 km, and conventional take-o! and landing in short unprepared runways. The design
covers all common areas: con"guration and sizing, aerodynamics, performance, stability and control,
airworthiness, and initial structural design. Following suggestions from scholars and authorities, and taking
into account the peculiar operational conditions of the vehicle, JAR 22 (Powered sailplanes, Utility category)
are used as the basis for airworthiness certi"cation. 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: RPV; UAV; Preliminary design; Civil applications
1. Introduction
Civil applications of RPVs are becoming very interesting because of its unique capabilities, in
terms of avoiding human risks in hazardous environments, high on-board safety, unlimited
operational endurance, etc. [1}4]. Moreover, the advances in telecommunications, microelec-
tronics and microsensors [5] give UAVs an enormous potential in a wide variety of scenarios.
It has been shown that RPVs can be more pro"table in the long term than their competitors,
1369-8869/99/$- see front matter 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
PII: S 1 3 6 9 - 8 8 6 9 ( 9 9 ) 0 0 0 1 4 - 2
mainly light airplanes and helicopters, although the development and acquisition costs may be
quite high [6].
Safety is the very key issue of civil applications of RPVs, and exhibits two di!erent faces: (a) the
utilisation of the lower airspace, where a great deal of air tra$c is continously #owing; and
(b) the intrinsic safety of the airframe. The "rst one imposes certain rules to allow the compatibility
of UAV operations with normal #ying tra$c, like seeing and be seen by other aircraft, and obliges
to keep a permanent and reliable link between the ground station and both the aircraft and the air
tra$c control. The second one requires a very high reliability of all on-board systems: powerplant,
hardware and software for navigation, communications, actuators, etc; to ensure that both the
normal as well as the emergency operation will not a!ect third parties. Following suggestions from
organisations, scholars and authorities contacted, JAR 22 (Powered sailplanes, Utility) require-
ments have been used as a basis for airworthiness considerations [7].
The present paper deals with the preliminary design of an aircraft but, since these terms may
have various meanings, it is convenient to clarify its real contents with some explanations. On one
hand, the term &preliminary design' is used here with the aim, scope and approach common in
industry and in most textbooks of airplane design [8}10]. On the other hand, it is the second step in
the design process; i.e. before undertaking the preliminary design, the conceptual design of the
vehicle has to be performed. In this earlier phase many feasible con"gurations have been studied in
some detail, and with the aid of certain safety and operational criteria one concept has been "nally
chosen as the best compromise for all requirements and speci"cations. This concept, known as
`frozen con"gurationa in open literature, is then subject to a sort of optimisation process called the
preliminary design. Thus, from an initial sizing carried out in the conceptual design phase, which
constitutes the starting point, the process goes on through fairly complete aerodynamic, #ight
mechanic and structural studies. Hence, the present paper only deals with the frozen con"guration
and the subsequent project work in the aforementioned areas.
2. Mission analysis and initial speci5cations
The main missions considered for the present design are: police surveillance of coasts, events, etc.;
search and rescue in hidden areas like mountains and sea; "re detection of small or large burning
areas and "re "ghting through the identi"cation and follow-up of the actual burning front
and relay for coordination of activities. The necessary equipment is composed of at least one
TV camera, a photographic camera, and infrared devices (FLIR and IRLS); many of them
simultaneously. Except one TV camera, which is "tted at the nose transparency, all other devices
are mounted on a gyrostabilised platform pointing downwards at the belly of the airframe.
The maximum foreseen payload is around 42 kg.
On the other hand, tra$c control missions are also possible with this RPV, although it would be
oversize since motorway/highway tra$c can be appropriately scanned with a much smaller vehicle.
The initial speci"cations for the design come as a consequence of the envisaged missions in the
Spanish scenario. Thus, the present design includes 10 items under two main categories: per-
formances and safety, which are described below.
E Endurance. In "re detection and "ghting as well as in SAR missions and coast surveillance
the operations have to be maintained for long periods. Two scenarios were considered: one in
168 R. Martn& nez-Val, C. Herna& ndez / Aircraft Design 2 (1999) 167}182
summer when day light lasts about 15 h, in which a set of ordinary cameras would be used; and
another in winter night darkness (again lasting around 15 h) with infrared devices. This
endurance is well above the endurance of most analogous, existing RPV systems.
E Mission range; i.e. vehicle to ground control base distance. The speci"cation rises from a thorough
analysis of the three Spanish zones requiring intensive surveillance: the Northwest coast, the
southern coast, and the Pirenees range. If each one of the aforementioned areas have to be
covered by only one or at most two ground stations, the maximumdistance from RPV to station
is around 175 km. It is assumed that a suitable air"eld or airstrip is close to the ground station.
C-band line-of-sight communications are compatible with the former distance and the cruising
altitude in the mentioned scenarios.
E Maximum speed. The requirement states that the RPV must be able to reach the operating
scenario (at 175 km) in less than one hour. So, taking into account take-o! and climbing losses,
this requirement implies a sustained maximum speed of 200 km/h.
E Cruise altitude. It is established as a compromise between line-of-sight, C-band communications
and camera resolution. The "rst one requires a minimum altitude of 1850 m, as a general
threshold, although in many zones it goes up to 2800 m. On the other hand, the detection,
reconnaissance and identi"cation capabilities of a hypothetical 2;2 m objective, with adequate
cameras and optics, depends on the cruise altitude. From 3000 m, both the identi"cation
performance and the area searched by the camera seem to be adequate. Additionally, the above
"gure provides an appropriate altitude to avoid most probable clouds (between 2000 and
2500 m) and its intrinsic turbulence.
E Service ceiling. The RPV must be able to safely #y over any Spanish range near the interesting
zones. The Pirenees' highest summit reaches 3404 m (Aneto) and in Sierra Nevada (very close to
the southern coast) 3480 m (MulhaceH n). So, including an appropriate margin it is established at
H
''`
'4000 m.
E Cruise speed. It also comes after analysing several requirements. First, because of the long
endurance required, the aircraft must #y close to its optimum aerodynamic e$ciency (the drag
polar parameters are estimated from a suitable database with RPVs and powered sailplanes).
Moreover, the aircraft must be able to cover a minimum of 100 km in 1 h along the #ight path,
meanwhile a certain area must be adequately scanned every hour. The lateral movement of the
camera impose a maximum cruise speed of around 150 km/h. The compromise results in a 120
and 150 km/h range, although the actual speed will be closer to the upper "gure because of speed
stability considerations.
E Safety and integrity of operation. Safety related issues have been thoroughly considered in
this project. Thus, the RPV must incorporate two engines, the aircraft must be able to #y
in normal cruise conditions with one engine inoperative and, furthermore, the vehicle
must be able to glide 100 km from cruise altitude and land at sea level, after full powerplant
failure.
E Launch and recovery. For safety, cost and air tra$c control reasons the RPV is required
to operate from short runways without using high-lift devices. The envisaged runways are
either ordinary air"elds or lightly prepared strips. No speci"c ground roll nor distance is
indicated with respect to "eld performance, neither about a maximum wingspan which could
hamper or even impede the use of highways or similar ordinary infrastructures for emergency
landing.
R. Martn& nez-Val, C. Herna& ndez / Aircraft Design 2 (1999) 167}182 169
Fig. 1. Three-view drawing of the RPV.
3. Con5guration and internal arrangement of the fuselage
Although many RPV exhibit more or less unconventional con"gurations, the dominant leit-
motiv in this design: i.e. to achieve very high aerodynamic e$ciency, both for the endurance
as well as for the long glide requirements; together with other design criteria shed from the initial
speci"cations have led to a fairly common arrangement. Thus, the vehicle exhibits a high aspect
ratio wing, unique and slender fuselage, empennage attached to the fuselage boom and tailwheel
with retractable main landing gear, as shown in Fig. 1. The relatively large airframe and the nose
camera contribute to solve the `see and be seena concern mentioned in the Introduction.
With respect to the type of powerplant, the obvious choice was between 2 stroke and 4 stroke
reciprocating engines. Although the "rst one is lighter, the second has been selected for its lower
speci"c fuel consumption and its higher reliability. Since a TV camera had to be mounted in the
nose of the fuselage, the pull}push twin arrangement was not possible, and two di!erent solutions
170 R. Martn& nez-Val, C. Herna& ndez / Aircraft Design 2 (1999) 167}182
Fig. 2. Internal arrangement of payload and equipment inside the fuselage. The wing torque box is located above the fuel
tank (indicated as DEPOSITO COMB.). MOSP stands for multimission optronic stabilised payload, TREN for main
landing gear wells on each side, TR/TX for telemetry}telecommand equipment, and MIAG for modular integrated
avionics group.
were studied for the engine location: in wing-mounted nacelles, or inside the fuselage to diminish
the drag; the second alternative was discarded due to increase in weight and complexity of the
power transmission.
On the other hand, and in spite of its well-known drawbacks, a tailwheel undercarriage with
retractable main legs seemed to be the best arrangement for the visibility of the cameras and to
achieve low aerodynamic drag. The main legs were electrically extended and retracted inside the
fuselage. Since the landing and taxiing loads are very light, low pressure, small tires may be used.
No shock absorber is needed. The propeller-to-ground clearance imposes some restrictions on the
leg length and tire size. In spite of a relatively large wingspan, the roll angle for "eld performance
can be as high as 123, but some reinforcement seems appropriate at the wing tips.
The shape of the fuselage rises from a compromise among adequate inner space for the payload
and on-board equipment, low aerodynamic drag (essentially minimum wetted area) and, far less
important, tail volumes. Fig. 2 depicts the arrangement of payload and equipment inside the wider
part of the fuselage. The payload items are: a digital TV camera (the eye for the distant pilot) and
a multimission optronic stabilized payload (MOSP); meanwhile the equipment includes a 34 l fuel
tank with pumps and other minor elements, wheelbays on both sides, a telemetry-telecommand
transmission}reception system, a modular integrated avionics package, and the battery. As shown
in Fig. 2, the nose and part of the bottom are transparent to visible and infrared radiation. The
width of the fuselage was essentially dictated by the MOSP size, with only a small clearance for
mounting and dismounting, the supporting frames and a fairly thin skin. The tail boom diameter
was enough to accommodate the rudder and elevator actuators and the supporting frame for the
tailwheel.
4. Initial sizing
Preliminary weight estimations have been carried out following common procedures of text-
books [8}10]: i.e. the take-o! weight is computed in terms of payload, fuel fraction and operating
empty weight (which depends upon take-o! weight and other variables). The payload is normally
R. Martn& nez-Val, C. Herna& ndez / Aircraft Design 2 (1999) 167}182 171
di!erent from mission to mission and the estimation has been done with MPL"42 kg. The fuel
fraction is obtained from a mission pro"le with seven segments: start and take-o!, climbing, cruise,
patrolling, return, descent, and landing. No reserve fuel has been considered according to the
mission and characteristics of the vehicle. For the short duration phases certain "xed fuel fractions
are assumed [10]. The speci"c fuel consumption, C
"
, provides the basis to compute the fraction
burnt along the patrolling segment as
dt
d=
"!
1
C
"

P
'
#
=<

"
E
, (1)
where P
'
is the power required by all systems on board, E"/D, and
"
is the propeller
e$ciency. The former equation can be rearranged to relate initial and "nal weights of the patrolling
phase as
=
"
=
'"''
"exp(!t/K
'
)![1!exp(!t/K
'
)]
C
`'
=
'"''
(2)
with
K
'
"

"
E
C
"
<
, C
`'
"
P
'

"
E
<
. (3)
Cruise and return fractions are determined in an analogous way.
The operating empty weight cannot be estimated from data of existing RPVs, because of the
great di!erences in con"guration. Instead, an expression has been developed to obtain OEW in
terms of take-o! weight, length of the fuselage and wing area with data from a family of powered
sailplanes. On doing so, the system of equations is closed and the solution provides all weights
considered.
Three requirements have been used to determine the design point (i.e. the power loading and the
wing loading): maximum speed in horizontal #ight, service ceiling, and #ight with one engine
inoperative. In all cases the power needed to run on-board equipment and systems has been taken
into account. The drag polar parameters (i.e. C
'
and the induced drag e$ciency factor) have been
obtained from sailplanes and powered sailplanes. The three requirements are plotted in Fig. 3. The
design point is chosen just above the intersection area. Although the wing loading (489 Pa) is
similar to that of other RPVs, the higher aerodynamic e$ciency of the present design yields a much
lower power/weight ratio (7 W/N) in comparison to other RPVs with more or less similar missions.
The best choice for this design point is a couple of SEIDEL ST525GC, radial "ve-cylinder engines,
with P
'
"6.34 kW each at 2700 RPM, and speci"c fuel consumption of 98.7 g/J at take-o! and
88.4 g/J at normal cruise.
Concerning the propeller, a detailed analysis to match take-o!, cruise and high-speed demands
resulted in a four blade unit with 0.72 m diameter, activity factor of 140, and C
''
"0.5. Two "xed
pitch positions were envisaged: one at
"``
"35.53 for take-o! and cruise and a second one at

"``
"42.53 for high speed. Aircraft noise has not been studied, but it is assumed irrelevant for the
small engine power, and the low speed and low loading of the propeller.
Other features of the aircraft (wing parameters, tail plane sizes and parameters, etc) are obtained
with semi-empirical Class I methods [8}11], with a database which includes half a dozen suitable
172 R. Martn& nez-Val, C. Herna& ndez / Aircraft Design 2 (1999) 167}182
Fig. 3. Power/weight ratio versus wing loading for maximum speed (1), one engine inoperative cruise (2) and service
ceiling (3) requirements. The selected wing loading (C. ALAR) and two possible engines (SEIDEL and LOTUS) are
marked with dashed lines. The plot also shows points corresponding to other RPVs.
gliders and powered sailplanes. For example, the wing aspect ratio is set at 25, appropriate for long
endurance without too much penalizing wing weight. No detailed trade-o! has been carried out on
the aspect ratio, but the results obtained later on the aerodynamic characteristics proved that the
choice was adequate. The most important variables of the conceptual design are summarized
in Table 1 and the three-view drawing of the "nal con"guration is depicted in Fig. 1. The spoilers in
the upper wing are required for the need to achieve controlled, steep descents (recall that the vehicle
has a very high lift over drag ratio), and as aerodynamic brakes to avoid reaching too high speeds
when diving (JAR 22.73).
The initial weight estimation and the subsequent centre of gravity analysis have been di$cult for
the lack of appropriate information. The structural weight of some parts had to be computed with
expressions derived for metallic components to which certain reduction has been applied (25% for
primary components and 40% for secondary items [9,11]. The results agree well with homologous
values of gliders and powered sailplanes.
The centre of gravity is around 19% of the mean aerodynamic chord at the beginning (MTOW)
of a typical mission, and moves to the rearmost position at landing, reaching 29% MAC. The
foremost cg location (18%) found in the detailed weight analysis corresponds to an intermediate
weight with little fuel left, but the heaviest payload.
5. Aerodynamic characteristics
Due to the very demanding initial speci"cations, mainly the long endurance and the long gliding
after full engine failure, the aerodynamic optimization of the design has been a permanent driving
R. Martn& nez-Val, C. Herna& ndez / Aircraft Design 2 (1999) 167}182 173
Table 1
Main features of the RPV
Name of variable Value
Maximum height 1.39 m
Maximum length 4.35 m
Wing span 9.59 m
Maximum take-o! weight (MTOW) 184 kg
Operating empty weight 113 kg
Maximum power at take-o! (Pto) 12.7 kW
Power/weight ratio 68.9 W/kg
Wing gross area (Sw) 3.68 m`
Mean aerodynamic chord 0.41 m
Wing aspect ratio 25
Wing taper ratio 0.5
Wing loading (MTOW/Sw) 49.9 kg/m`
Aileron span fraction 0.35
Spoiler span fraction 0.12
Horizontal tailplane volume coe$cient 0.55
Vertical tailplane volume coe$cient 0.03
Landing gear track 0.30 m
Wheelbase 2.60 m
force. Consequently, a detailed study of the wing and the wing}body combination has been carried
out, followed by a less deep analysis of other components.
As it will be shown later, the airfoil lift coe$cient during cruise fell within a 0.6}0.9 range
at a Reynolds number in the order of 1.2;10". Suitable criteria to select the appropriate airfoil
included high C
'`
(to avoid problems with gusts and manoeuvres), low C
'"
and low viscous-
induced drag (both for the extreme power-o! performance required), and high thickness ratio (to
provide adequate #exural rigidity in a very large aspect ratio wing). Several NASA LS aftloaded
and Wortmann FX airfoils were assessed and the "nal choice was in favour of a NASA LS 17%
thick section, which seemed to be the best compromise.
Basic and additional wing lift distributions, plus those corresponding to symmetric and antisym-
metric aileron de#ection, and rolling e!ects have been studied with the Weissinger method [12].
Wing twist was considered unnecessary. Because of the relatively low Reynolds number, and in
spite of using a good airfoil and a large aspect ratio, the maximum lift coe$cient of the wing is just
below 1.5; but the stall, which appeared around 70% of the wing semi-span, progressed smoothly.
Due to the relatively large wing area, the contribution of the other airframe components to the
parasitic drag was fairly low. The non-trimmed drag polar with all engines operative can be
modelled in cruise conditions by a parabolic expression:
C
'
"C
'
#C`
'
/A"0.0090#0.0224C`
'
, (4)
which provides (/D)
`
"35.2 at C
'
"0.63.
The good, intrinsic, aerodynamic characteristics of the airframe are partly counterbalanced
by the use of an aft loaded airfoil in the wing and a relatively large nose down pitching moment
174 R. Martn& nez-Val, C. Herna& ndez / Aircraft Design 2 (1999) 167}182
Fig. 4. Aerodynamic e$ciency (lift over drag ratio) in terms of lift coe$cient, with all engines and propellers operative.
produced by the fuselage (both leading to C
`
"!0.25). This results in a large download on
the horizontal tail to trim the airplane, which reduces (/D)
`
to about 34 with the powerplant
operative, as shown in Fig. 4, and to just 33 after double engine failure. This last value implies that
the 100 km unpowered gliding requirement is not mathematically ful"lled from 3000 m, for a small
di!erence, and would require a minor modi"cation of the airfoil, or some later re"nement in the
value of the wing aspect ratio or the shape of the engine cowlings. Furthermore, the maximum lift
coe$cient of the aircraft falls down to 1.4 which, taking into account that the cruise lift coe$cient
lies within the 0.55}0.75 range, poses some limitations on its manoeuvering capabilities.
6. Flight mechanics
The maximum speed at sea level and MTOW is around 228 km/h, while at cruise altitude of
3000 m (10000 ft) and a typical intermediate weight is 233 km/h. Fig. 5 shows the cruise speed
stability problem; two possible solutions are either to select a minimum power of 1.75 kW with
about 1.5% margin on both sides, or to select a minimumtypical cruise speed of 135 km/h with 4%
margin on both sides. No detailed assessment has been done to know which one of both is more
easily achievable.
Integral performances have been analysed through a seven segment (take-o!, climbing, cruise,
observation, return to base, descent, and landing) mission pro"le. As an example of the results
obtained, Fig. 6 depicts the endurance for the case where the cruise, observation and return phases
take place at constant speed (the one marked in the x-axis). The observation time is longer than
15 h at all speeds below 152 km/h, and the total #ying time exceeds 15 h at all speeds below
180 km/h.
R. Martn& nez-Val, C. Herna& ndez / Aircraft Design 2 (1999) 167}182 175
Fig. 5. Power required for horizontal, constant speed #ight at 3000, and a typical weight of 166 kg.
Fig. 6. Patrolling time for the seven segments mission pro"le de"ned in Initial sizing (Section 4). The distance from the
ground-base to the patrolling area is 175 km.
With respect to the climbing capability, the time to reach the normal cruise altitude (3000 m)
varies from 17 min starting at MZFW to about 21 min when the mission starts at MTOW. The
service ceiling is 5700 m for 0.98 MTOW and reaches 6300 m for MZFW.
On hard, unpaved runways at sea level the take-o! run is 334 m for MTOW, and the
corresponding take-o! distance over a 15 m obstacle (JAR 22.51) is 469 m; while the landing
distance from 15 m is 432 m at MZFW, including 303 m of landing run.
176 R. Martn& nez-Val, C. Herna& ndez / Aircraft Design 2 (1999) 167}182
Both static as well as dynamic longitudinal stability have been studied to some extent and the
results are satisfactory. For example, the stick "xed neutral point is at 52%MAC for a typical #ight
condition, thus giving a good static margin. On the other hand, the characteristic times are shorter
than those corresponding to many other aircraft (period of 1.7 s for the short period mode, or 48 s
to halve the phugoid mode) but do not pose special problems on the RPV control.
Finally, trimming the aircraft requires only moderate elevator de#ections: between 0 and 3.33 in
typical cruise conditions; and !9.83 at stall.
7. Mission performance
The area the cameras may observe in a certain time and with adequate sharpness are key
operational characteristics of vehicle. In the present work it is supposed that the cameras move
from side to side continuously in a plane perpendicular to the RPV longitudinal axis. The
observation starts at an extreme angular position and the camera rotates with a low angular speed

until reaching the symmetric point; then returning with a faster angular speed
`
; this means
that the observation is only active in the "rst slow phase. In order to assure a complete coverage,
the upper limit of an image must coincide or have some overlap with the lower limit of the next one.
The lateral distance, d
''
, observed is
d
''
"2h
'"''
tan

1#(

/
`
)
h
'
2<
'

#b
'
, (5)
where b
'
and h
'
are the life size width and height of the image, respectively. Obviously, the
area covered per unit time is
dA
''
dt
"<
'
d
''
, (6)
The value of

depends on the speed the images may be processed either automatically or by


a ground operator, while
`
depends on the speed at which the MOSP can safely and reliably
rotate.
As an example of the analysis carried out, Fig. 7 shows the cruise speed and rotation speed
in#uence in the lateral distance viewed by the camera, meanwhile Fig. 8 presents the same
dependence for the covered area per unit time. At low <
'
the camera can move from horizon to
horizon, but the quality of the vision in both extremes is very poor. On the other hand, as

decreases, the in#uence of <


'
diminishes. Thus, a typical performance with a 625;625 lines
camera moving at

"1 RPM,
`
"5 RPM, and the zoom angle in detection mode (1 line/m), is
d
''
"5.5 km and dA
''
/dt"765 km`/h.
8. Structural analysis
With respect to structural design and analysis, the key question is to decide an adequate
airworthiness certi"cation base to de"ne suitable load cases for the sizing of the various structural
R. Martn& nez-Val, C. Herna& ndez / Aircraft Design 2 (1999) 167}182 177
Fig. 7. Lateral distance scanned in terms of cruise speed and camera rotation speed. (1) indicates

"0.2 RPM;
(2)

"0.5 RPM; (3)

"1 RPM; and (4)

"1.5 RPM. In all cases


`
"5 RPM.
Fig. 8. Covered area per unit time in terms of cruise speed and camera rotation speed. Symbols as in Fig. 7.
components. As indicated in the Introduction, following suggestions from organisations, scholars
and authorities contacted, and taking into account the peculiar operational conditions of the
vehicle, JAR 22 requirements, for powered sailplanes (Utility category) [7] have constituted the
guidance and benchmark throughout all structural studies. Interestingly, there are not similar FAR
rules to JAR 22.
178 R. Martn& nez-Val, C. Herna& ndez / Aircraft Design 2 (1999) 167}182
Fig. 9. Manoeuvering envelope (equivalent air speed, limit load factor) for maximum take-o! weight at sea level.
Fig. 10. Gust envelope (equivalent air speed, limit load factor) for maximum take-o! weight at sea level.
Figs. 9 and 10 show the manoeuvering and gust envelopes (JAR 22.333) for a particular #ight
condition. All gust envelopes are obtained with the help of the gust load alleviation factor method.
The airframe structure is, mainly, of carbon "bre/epoxy composite. Concerning the wing, which
is the structural element analysed in greater detail, the selected sublaminate is (0/45/0/!45/0)
'
,
R. Martn& nez-Val, C. Herna& ndez / Aircraft Design 2 (1999) 167}182 179
Fig. 11. Internal structure of the wing.
Table 2
Load conditions used in the structural sizing of the wing
Flight condition h (m) = (kg) n
"''
<
'^`
(km/h)
Maximum gust at absolute ceiling (maximum bending moment) 6807 184 10.875 194
<
"
Gust at intermediate cruise weight, SL (high bending, maximum
twist moment)
0 166 9.375 312
<
'
Maximum rolling manoeuvre, SL (maximum aileron de#ection) 0 184 6.625 194
<
^
Rolling at diving speed, SL (1/3 maximum aileron de#ection) 0 184 5.0 308
<
'
orthotropic, 0.625 mm in thickness, and with the 03 direction parallel to the unique spar (see
Fig. 11). In order to simplify the stress}strain analysis, some hypothesis have been considered: (1)
the stresses are negligible in the 903 direction; (2) the sublaminate thickness is very small compared
with the stress variation distance; and (3) bending and shear are independent. Then it is possible to
use classical bending and shear theories [13] to determine the macroscopic strain. Afterwards,
every sheet is analysed independently. Residual stresses (from manufacturing and processing) and
environmental e!ects (humidity and temperature), that lead to mechanical degradation, have also
been taken into account. Finally, it has been assumed that the failure occurs when a sheet breaks,
using for this purpose the modi"ed generalized Von Mises method [14].
As shown in Fig. 11, the wing structure is constituted of three elements: (a) the spar, made of
a rectangular plastic tube wrapped around by composite; (b) the skin, made of composite; and
(c) a foam "ller (its sti!ness has been neglected).
According to JAR 22 (subpart C), the wing structure must be able to support the limit loads
without permanent deformation and the ultimate loads without failure (for at least 3 s). The safety
factor considered here is 1.875 (1.5 times 1.25, JAR 22.303, JAR 22.619 and JAR 22.621). The sizing
of most structural elements has been carried out with the ultimate load requirement, since the "rst
one is automatically ful"lled due to the mechanical properties of the material. Thus, Table 2 shows
the critical load conditions [15,16] used in the sizing and analysis of the wing, derived from the
manoeuvering and gust envelopes.
180 R. Martn& nez-Val, C. Herna& ndez / Aircraft Design 2 (1999) 167}182
Compliance with the strength requirements has been thoroughly studied in the wing with speci"c
software developed for this work. Several skin and spar wrapping thickness variation laws have
been assessed, with the constraint of being multiple of the sublaminate thickness. The results show
that the optimum wing structure requires only one layer in the skin, 0.625 mm, and two layers in
the spar, 1.25 mm. Both values could be reduced in the outer portion of the wing, the loads being
quite small, but for manufacturability reasons they are kept constant. The wing structure is quite
light and the total weight (including plastic tube and foam) is very similar to the initial estimation
(23 instead of 25 kg).
Initial aeroelastic computations show that the wing is free from divergence e!ects and from
aileron reverse command problems. However, #utter could appear at very high speeds around
300 km/h and thus below <
'
, which is not allowed (JAR 22.629); consequently, some minor
modi"cations ought to be introduced.
9. Conlusions
The preliminary design of an unmanned aircraft, conceived for civil applications such as
surveillance of borders and coasts, "re detection, and search and rescue has been carried out.
The initial speci"cations included an uncommonly long endurance, and very long glide capa-
bility; these requirements have been the key driving forces along the design, which resulted in
a con"guration very similar to that of powered sailplanes.
Apart from studies on aerodynamics, performance and stability of the vehicle, the project work
includes a fairly complete structural analysis which shows that a composite made airframe is
appropriate (light and strong enough) to achieve the design goals.
Acknowledgements
The authors appreciate the most valuable comments by Messrs. Tamariz (Chief of the Motorway
Tra$c Helicopter Service) and Ventas (Chief of the National Police Helicopter Service). An earlier,
abridged version of this work was presented at the 13th Bristol International Conference on
RPVs/UAVs and published in the corresponding Proceedings [17]; the authors acknowledge the
permission of the Organizing Committee to prepare this extended "nal paper.
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