Aircraft Systems Engineering and Aerial Vehicle Technologies

Module aims

Aircraft Systems Engineering
This course is intended to give the student an awareness and understanding of the properties and behaviour of engineering systems and the systems engineering process.
UAV and MAV Technologies
The course provides an overview of structural and aerodynamic design of MAV and UAVs, their control and multiple applications. It will examine the specific differences in the design process for UAVs as well as the challenges in the wider adoption of UAVs, including operation in controlled airspace and interoperability with piloted aircraft.

Learning outcomes

Aircraft Systems Engineering
On successful completion of the course students will know the main components of the major aircraft systems of an aircraft and view an aircraft as a system, comprised of many subsystems, and operating within a larger air transportation system.
The students will be able to assess the design requirements and apply system design tools to develop a system design, including an analysis of the function, architecture and key performance issues of major subsystems.
They will understand and apply basic concepts for Systems Engineering such as requirements, interface management, verification and validation, reliability and safety, risk analysis and management, the impact of human factors, and design closure to deliver lifecycle value.
Further understanding of complex systems and design choices will be gained through the analysis of selected Case Studies.

UAV and MAV Technologies
On successful completion of this module students will understand the differences in the design process for UAVs when compared to manned aircraft and apply what has been learnt in designing an aspect of a UAV/MAV. Students will also understand the complexities and challenged  of operating UAVs in controlled airspace and have formed an informed opinion how legislation in this area will evolve

Module syllabus

Aircraft Systems Engineering

Introduction to Systems Engineering: Definition of a system. The need for systems engineering (SE). 
Overview of the major aircraft systems: Electrical, hydraulic, fuel, flight control, and avionics.
Systems Engineering: Need and its core process; Aircraft lifecycle and its stages: concept, definition, design, built, test, operate, and disposal.
SE lifecycle processes: Stakeholders; Requirements; Technical specifications QFD; Functional analysis; Trade-off analysis and decision making.
SE technical processes: System integration, validation, verification and testing.
SE specialties: Safety and reliability; Risk and risk analysis techniques; Design for redundancy. 
Human factors in SE: Ergonomics; Human-machine interface; Modelling human behaviour within complex systems. 
Cases studies: Application of SE to commercial A/C and others, e.g. B777 and UAV

UAV and MAV Technologies
Operation: An overview of the diverse range of different types of UAVs and MAVs, their applications and mission profiles.
Design: Specific design challenges and opportunities relating to the design of UAVs and MAVs throughout the huge range of scales and missions. Including sensing, actuation and navigation for MAVs and UAVs.
Systems design: System requirements, specification and how they are achieved for UAVs operating in a range of environments, meeting airworthiness regulations, redundancy and reversionary mode requirements.
Bio-inspired UAVs and MAVs: What can be learnt in the design of UAVs and MAVs by borrowing from nature, including collaborative and flocking of UAVs.

Teaching methods

Lectures and tutorials


Examined Assessment
1.5hrs written examination in Summer term (85%)
1 coursework design assignment (15%) on the Aircraft Systems Engineering aspect of the module.