Dr Jonathan G. Pelham home

Aircraft Sizing

14 September 2017 - Cranfield

Some months ago I did an python introduction tutorial to show to some of our students the power of Python for aircraft design.

Aircraft Sizing Worked Example

I did a worked example from chapter 3 from Aircraft Design: A Conceptual Approach 3rd edition by Daniel P. Raymer. An excellent resource for learning the conceptual design of aircraft indeed.

Things have moved on in the software stakes and by writing aircraft concepts as python functions we can then apply very powerful methods from libraries like scipy to find optimal tradeoffs for items such as the ideal Takeoff weight or the design empty weight fraction of our intended aircraft.

I probably won’t do too many more worked examples as It wouldn’t be fair to Daniel and I encourage anyone in this field to buy his book.

Hopefully in the future we can take a look at using CAE (Computer Aided Engineering) for further tasks in aircraft design. Interfacing design with CAD programs and files is a non trivial exercise but the results can be extremely powerful. I used to use a tool for aircraft design called Profili and it was good for its day but I think we can do much better by applying more modern techniques and some of the wealth of resource that can be found in the open source CAE community.