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Wing design[edit]

See also: Wing configuration

The wing of a fixed-wing aircraft provides the lift necessary for flight. Wing geometry affects
every aspect of an aircraft's flight. The wing area will usually be dictated by the desired stalling
speed but the overall shape of the planform and other detail aspects may be influenced by wing
layout factors.[30] The wing can be mounted to the fuselage in high, low and middle positions. The
wing design depends on many parameters such as selection of aspect ratio, taper
ratio, sweepback angle, thickness ratio, section profile, washout and dihedral.[31] The cross-
sectional shape of the wing is its airfoil.[32] The construction of the wing starts with the rib which
defines the airfoil shape. Ribs can be made of wood, metal, plastic or even composites. [33]
The wing must be designed and tested to ensure it can withstand the maximum loads imposed
by maneuvering, and by atmospheric gusts.

Fuselage[edit]
Main article: Fuselage

The fuselage is the part of the aircraft that contains the cockpit, passenger cabin or cargo hold. [34]

Propulsion[edit]

Aircraft engine

Main article: Aircraft engine


Aircraft propulsion may be achieved by specially designed aircraft engines, adapted auto,
motorcycle or snowmobile engines, electric engines or even human muscle power. The main
parameters of engine design are:[35]

 Maximum engine thrust available


 Fuel consumption
 Engine mass
 Engine geometry
The thrust provided by the engine must balance the drag at cruise speed and be greater than the
drag to allow acceleration. The engine requirement varies with the type of aircraft. For instance,
commercial airliners spend more time in cruise speed and need more engine efficiency. High-
performance fighter jets need very high acceleration and therefore have very high thrust
requirements.[36]

Weight[edit]
Main article: Aircraft gross weight

The weight of the aircraft is the common factor that links all aspects of aircraft design such as
aerodynamics, structure, and propulsion, all together. An aircraft's weight is derived from various
factors such as empty weight, payload, useful load, etc. The various weights are used to then
calculate the center of mass of the entire aircraft.[37] The center of mass must fit within the
established limits set by the manufacturer.

Structure[edit]
The aircraft structure focuses not only on strength, aeroelasticity, durability, damage
tolerance, stability, but also on fail-safety, corrosion resistance, maintainability and ease of
manufacturing. The structure must be able to withstand the stresses caused by cabin
pressurization, if fitted, turbulence and engine or rotor vibrations. [38]

Design process and simulation[edit]


This section needs
expansion. You can help
by adding to it. (December 2011)

The design of any aircraft starts out in three phases [39]

Conceptual Design[edit]

Conceptual design of a Breguet 673

Aircraft conceptual design involves sketching a variety of possible configurations that meet the
required design specifications. By drawing a set of configurations, designers seek to reach the
design configuration that satisfactorily meets all requirements as well as go hand in hand with
factors such as aerodynamics, propulsion, flight performance, structural and control systems.
[40]
 This is called design optimization. Fundamental aspects such as fuselage shape, wing
configuration and location, engine size and type are all determined at this stage. Constraints to
design like those mentioned above are all taken into account at this stage as well. The final
product is a conceptual layout of the aircraft configuration on paper or computer screen, to be
reviewed by engineers and other designers.

Preliminary design phase[edit]


The design configuration arrived at in the conceptual design phase is then tweaked and
remodeled to fit into the design parameters. In this phase, wind tunnel testing and computational
fluid dynamic calculations of the flow field around the aircraft are done. Major structural and
control analysis is also carried out in this phase. Aerodynamic flaws and structural instabilities if
any are corrected and the final design is drawn and finalized. Then after the finalization of the
design lies the key decision with the manufacturer or individual designing it whether to actually
go ahead with the production of the aircraft.[41] At this point several designs, though perfectly
capable of flight and performance, might have been opted out of production due to their being
economically nonviable.

Detail design phase[edit]


This phase simply deals with the fabrication aspect of the aircraft to be manufactured. It
determines the number, design and location of ribs, spars, sections and other structural
elements.[42] All aerodynamic, structural, propulsion, control and performance aspects have
already been covered in the preliminary design phase and only the manufacturing
remains. Flight simulators for aircraft are also developed at this stage.

Delays[edit]
Some commercial aircraft have experienced significant schedule delays and cost overruns in the
development phase. Examples of this include the Boeing 787 Dreamliner with a delay of 4 years
with massive cost overruns, the Boeing 747-8 with a two-year delay, the Airbus A380 with a two-
year delay and US$6.1 billion in cost overruns, the Airbus A350 with delays and cost overruns,
the Bombardier C Series, Global 7000 and 8000, the Comac C919 with a four-year delay and
the Mitsubishi Regional Jet, which was delayed by four years and ended up with empty weight
issues.[43]

Program development