Momentum - November 2019 - 10

STUDENT
GENERATION

The team's autonomously controlled glider was designed to have
wing end plates.
A rendering of the team's plane from its SAE Design Report.

Team members stand in line with their plane, waiting for their turn to put it in the air.
structure was strong enough to withstand the strong landings and
gusts of winds that blew in Fort Worth during the competition.
Regarding drag, the challenge was more straightforward. During
one of the prototype tests in Rio de Janeiro, the plane stalled and
crashed into a tree. But that story deserves a whole chapter of its
own. Amazingly, after this incident, it was still able to fly several times.
However, we noted that the available reduced limited power was
virtually lost by the drag force of components such as servos, batteries,
and by the non-aerodynamic geometries.
The next step was to develop a fairing. The design and development of
the fairing and the rest of the aircraft was fully executed in SolidWorks,
and batteries of CFD simulations were run to adjust the geometry
progressively. We repeated the vacuum lamination process to create a
lightweight fairing structure that would not affect the empty weight of
the main aircraft. As a result, the plane had higher surplus power and
was able to fly more stably and safely. We had implemented this solution
in previous competitions, and experience spoke louder. We applied
this technique once again to improve the aircraft's performance while
keeping it safe within the performance envelope.
10 November 2019

Finally, we still had to solve the glider handling.
Although our autonomous control algorithm had proved
to be reliable and functional, when piloted in a manual
manner the glider still revealed certain control failures. It
would go into spiral mode right away. It is important to
mention that we had opted for a flying wing glider for
various reasons, including the weight limitation itself and
the limited need to control command surfaces, as only
two servos would be needed for elevon control. After
careful consideration and analysis, based on previous
experience in other competitions, and on simple stability
simulations run in XFLR5 (software for basic simulations
of aerodynamics, stability, and control), we concluded it
would be important to install end plates on the wingtips,
as this would improve the glider's handling significantly
and would also support the control algorithm to be
applied and tested during the flights. This simple
improvement did not modify the weigh significantly;
instead, it improved the glider's handling. It also helped
us define the most complex elements of the mission.
These are examples of how we were able to produce
excellent results with three design improvements in an
already finished project. We finished in third place in the
SAE AeroDesign East in the overall ranking this year, and
we intend to introduce improvements and leverage our
experience in upcoming editions.
Conclusion: In engineering, experience and innovation
should always walk hand in hand. These two components
embody simple practices that can make all the difference
in a design that, at first sight, had seemed to be
unachievable to us.
Marcos Caldas, a senior mechanical engineering
student and member of the AeroRio UAV Design team
at Pontifical Catholic University, wrote this article for
MOMENTUM.

MOMENTUM



Momentum - November 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Momentum - November 2019

Momentum - November 2019
Contents
EDITORIAL
BRIEFS
STUDENT GENERATION
One-on-One – Matt Heywood
Experience and innovation walk hand in hand
Baja SAE 2019: a tale of wind, rain (sleet/ mud), and sunshine
‘Complete, finish, win’
Low-speed controlled flight top of mind for Cal State Northridge team
Big data, big benefits for big machines
Mercedes-Benz EQS concept: the S-Class of electric vehicles?
SAE 101: EDGE Research Reports
New SAE student challenge centers on connected aircraft
Miscellaneous news for SAE Student Members!
Dossier: Steve Rehak of Detroit Flex Defense
What’s next?
Momentum - November 2019 - Momentum - November 2019
Momentum - November 2019 - Cover2
Momentum - November 2019 - Contents
Momentum - November 2019 - EDITORIAL
Momentum - November 2019 - BRIEFS
Momentum - November 2019 - STUDENT GENERATION
Momentum - November 2019 - 5
Momentum - November 2019 - 6
Momentum - November 2019 - One-on-One – Matt Heywood
Momentum - November 2019 - Experience and innovation walk hand in hand
Momentum - November 2019 - 9
Momentum - November 2019 - 10
Momentum - November 2019 - Baja SAE 2019: a tale of wind, rain (sleet/ mud), and sunshine
Momentum - November 2019 - ‘Complete, finish, win’
Momentum - November 2019 - 13
Momentum - November 2019 - 14
Momentum - November 2019 - Low-speed controlled flight top of mind for Cal State Northridge team
Momentum - November 2019 - Big data, big benefits for big machines
Momentum - November 2019 - Mercedes-Benz EQS concept: the S-Class of electric vehicles?
Momentum - November 2019 - SAE 101: EDGE Research Reports
Momentum - November 2019 - New SAE student challenge centers on connected aircraft
Momentum - November 2019 - Miscellaneous news for SAE Student Members!
Momentum - November 2019 - 21
Momentum - November 2019 - Dossier: Steve Rehak of Detroit Flex Defense
Momentum - November 2019 - 23
Momentum - November 2019 - What’s next?
Momentum - November 2019 - Cover3
Momentum - November 2019 - Cover4
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