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MEng Aerospace Engineering with Management / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

Course unit details:
Aircraft Design

Unit code MACE20512
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering Division (L5)
Available as a free choice unit? No


Successful civil aircraft design is about making informed compromises between the constraints provided by the laws of physics, the rules of commerce and the legal framework provided by international regulation. This unit aims to provide informative background to the major themes that underpin civil aircraft design such that students understand how and why civil aircraft look as they do at present, and how changing technology and the increasingly important role of the environment will affect designs in the future.



To develop an understanding of the design process by which new jet civil transport  aircraft are produced and the technical, commercial, legal and environmental constraints that affect design decisions


1. The Commercial Aviation Market & Basic Design Requirements
2. Initial Weight Estimation
The iterative process of using a mission to determine the rough size of your final aircraft
3. The Design Process: Conceptual, Preliminary, Details
4. Welcome to Sizing using performance constraints to estimate thrust and wing area
5. Configuration selection and synthesis
6. Propulsion system selection
7. Fuselage design and cabin layout
8. Wing layout, getting it right
9. Weight & Balance – how not to die right away
a. Introduction to aerospace propulsion, both combusting and non-combusting forms. This includes airbreathing and non-airbreathing systems
10.  Environment & Safety – try not  to kill yourself other ways, or kill other people
11. Economics – Don’t do it if you are going to loose your shirt

Computer Cluster Activity: 
1. Sizing Spreadsheet: Develop a generic fixed-wing aircraft sizing capability based around weight estimation and point performance constraints analysis. This will initially be excercised on a series of generic aircraft but will be used in activity 2
2. Aircraft Design activity: Sizing and synthesis of an aircraft to meet a specific market requirement. This is followed by the representation of the system in CAD. 

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 20%
Written exam 50%
Report 30%

Quiz - 1%

Spreadsheet 19%


Feedback methods

Exam - via script viewing

Quiz - online


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 12
Project supervision 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 64

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Peter Hollingsworth Unit coordinator

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