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Arkwright Scholarship Build Project - I need a mission!

TehMaxwell

Tales of a Rookie
#1
So to most people, especially those outside of the UK, this will mean nothing I am sure. I was recently lucky enough to be offered an Engineering Scholarship with the Arkwright Scholarships Fund (Their website:http://www.arkwright.org.uk/). I have been matched up to a sponsor, and thus get a series of benefits, one being financial! ££££££££££

In total I get £600, delivered in two instalments over two years. This money can't be spent on anything, so a new PC is out of the question... :S But it can be spent on school or extra curricular projects. Now seeing as I want to be an Aerospace/Aeronautical Engineer, I thought what better than too build a remote control plane. It would be a bit dubious to just build a new FPV set-up, or something like that, as that leans towards more of the leisure side of life. But if I have a mission and a goal then there is no reason why I can't do it (as far as I know!). Something along the lines of building a Solar Powered Plane, VTOL Aircraft, a UAV, etc.

There are a few things that I need to make this a) not a leisure activity and b) a good educational experience:

  • I need to design the airframe! (Always Fun!)
  • It needs to involve newer materials that I haven't worked with yet. (Fibre Glass, Carbon Fibre, etc.)
  • It needs to have some sort of goal, with possibly a test at the end of it!

So with those things made clear, I would like to open up the floor for ideas. This community is super awesome and super creative. So do you have any good ideas?

I plan to make a build log on the site if this goes ahead, so you may see the finished result in a couple years time!
 

Craftydan

Hostage Taker of Quads
Staff member
Moderator
Mentor
#2
Maxwell,

What kind of flying to you like? What would you like to explore?

From a professional standpoint, as an AsE, you'll lean more towards airframe and fluid mechanics in your professional studies, which could include prop design and optimization as well as airfoil/airframe design.

If you lean a little more toward ME airframe mechanics, vibration effects, weight/structure/material optimization are all good directions to lean, as would power and thermal transfer.

If you start leaning toward EE, you get into control systems, applied MEMs and datalogging, comm links (including FPV ;) ), and power optimization.

Depending on which of these topics interest you more, there's nitches in RC aircraft that will help you get up to speed and would benefit from exploration.
 

TehMaxwell

Tales of a Rookie
#3
Hey Dan!

Well, I would say that I definitely want to lean more towards the airframe design aspect more than anything, as that is what I would really like to do when I get a job. But I also like the practical side of things, so learning about structure and materials would also be quite cool. I definitely think that I would like to look at using more expensive and complicated materials than FoamBoard. Things like VTOL and Solar Power do interest me, as does FPV (I already have a set-up which I love! :D).

But, If I had to choose one direction, then it would definitely be airframe design. I would like to broaden my knowledge on the whole process if possible, as that would give me a head start. But definitely leaning towards the airframe design aspect of things.
 

Craftydan

Hostage Taker of Quads
Staff member
Moderator
Mentor
#4
But, If I had to choose one direction, then it would definitely be airframe design. I would like to broaden my knowledge on the whole process if possible, as that would give me a head start. But definitely leaning towards the airframe design aspect of things.
Then you might hate my answer . . .

Free Flight.

Yup. Rubber powered and slingshot balsa/film/carbon/composite gliders . . . but also the occasional electric or gas motor with a timed 10s run . . . and no RC control surfaces.

As you're in the UK, your biggest challenge is to find a place to fly as many days out of the year as you can, but if you TRULY want to learn the subtitles of airframe design, FF is the way to go. Look for clubs in the area that specialize in it.

As advanced as it can be and useful in learning the airframe it also has the ironic feature of being the cheaper arm of the hobby. Your stipend will go MUCH farther, where a nice MR of glider would eat £600 and spit back pence.



Keep in mind . . . I recommend this through gritted teeth . . . I've got a flying buddy (FAI-F1D here on the forum), who is HEAUGE into it. He's been trying to drag me into FF and I've been putting a TX into his hands. If my experience wasn't this was the best direction for you to learn about this, I wouldn't suggest it (because he's likely going to bug me about this the next time I'm out at the field).
 

TehMaxwell

Tales of a Rookie
#5
Interesting direction to take, I hadn't thought of Free Flight actually.

Do you think it would possibly be a good idea to do some small scale free flight design ideas, for example several different models that had different properties (under camber, dihedral, etc.), then using that data design and build a larger scale model that was remotely controlled. Rather like going through a whole design process.

What I will say is that what I have too do has to be interesting and more entertaining than just designing and building a plane, that is why I was leaning more towards solar power or VTOL, as that actually has something extra to it. Too put it simply, I have too impress my sponsor, as there may be a job at the end of it for me. Now at the moment I don't know who my sponsor is yet, so when I find out I might be able to tailor it towards more what they deal in.
 

rcspaceflight

creator of virtual planes
#6
I think a good mission would be to have the plane carry equipment that can take weather measurements. Although, I don't know enough about meteorology to know what actual use measurements from 100 feet in the air would be.

I think the only current meteorological problem is tornadoes. Not that you would have to actually fly your plane into a tornado, but making one capable of doing so, and taking important measurements, would be a great mission.

A tornado proof plane is definitely a great design challenge. It would have to be able to carry X amount of weight to properly take measurements and withstand wind, hail, rain, etc. The plane should be a UAV because of the abuse it would take. But even building the airframe and airframe only would impress your sponsor(s). I don't think the UAV system would have to be too complicated though. The plane is not likely to stay in one piece, or easily fly back. So the plane really just needs to keep track of it's GPS location and be easily found after it crashes. GPS location + altitude + radar (not from plane, but from other source) + air speed + air temperature = a lot of valuable tornado information.
 

TehMaxwell

Tales of a Rookie
#7
That is a pretty awesome idea! I like that a lot! That would also implement CraftyDans approach, as if I was flying in windy weather I would want a hyper stable plane. So that it wouldn't crash before reaching the point where it would collect data. The idea of designing and building an airframe too combat natural disasters, or just disasters, is an awesome idea. It would be cool to design a heavy lifting plane that could carry water to put out fire's in remote areas.

Hmm the possibilities are endless!