2006 undergraduate Aerospace Engineering thesis project at Boston University College of Engineering.
Noticing the gap in available modes of transportation, there is a need to establish a means for air travel that supersedes the existing hub-and-spoke airport system. The market demands fewer time constraints and greater freedom of mobility than what is available from any aircraft currently in production.
The following technical report outlines the problem addressed, the consequent design drivers, and an analysis of the viability and quantitative characteristics of the air vehicle at the preliminary design stage. In brief, it has been established through a highly iterative design process that Short Takeoff and Landing (STOL) is the safest, most economic, and most convenient solution for point-to-point air transportation. With a ground roll of just over 100 ft, the Sky2k can takeoff from any runway and could make use of other paved surfaces for even more direct transport. High lift devices- double-slotted flaps and leading edge slats- and an overpowered piston-prop engine allow the aircraft to achieve STOL. To increase versatility, it was important to restrict the footprint of this Personal Air Vehicle (PAV). For this reason, a lifting canard was added to decrease the overall wingspan. The canard was designed to stall before the main wing, leading to a virtually stall-free aircraft. Other aspects of the design, like the pusher-prop configuration, H-tail, and fixed landing gear are all decisions driven by safety and reliability considerations.
The design mission is defined for a 450 nm range and three people, each weighing 200 lb, with 50 lbs of baggage per person. This mission will begin with a short takeoff and climb to 10,000 ft, then a cruise at 175 mph, and a descent with 15 minute loiter segment before the short landing. This mission, with its necessary weight allotments and factors in the design decisions (such as the 2024-T6 aluminum structures, engine selection, etc.) give a gross takeoff weight of 3020 lbs. This vehicle is unique as a pusher-prop STOL PAV. Such characteristics have always been admired, but have not yet been realized in one entity. Such effectiveness and versatility lead to multi-faceted market potential. Every step of the design stage holds safety paramount and attempts to achieve the most reliable, comfortable, and affordable aircraft within the chosen design parameters.