HALE Multidisciplinary Design Optimization Part II: Solar-Powered Flying-Wing Aircraft

AIAA Aviation


A conceptual multidisciplinary framework is developed for the design and analysis of solar-powered, High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) flight vehicles. Typical design features such as low wing loading and high aspect ratio imply strong inter-disciplinary couplings, in particular, aerodynamics and structures. A MultiDisciplinary Optimization (MDO) framework is therefore required to fully exploit potential couplings that may result in significant weight savings. In order to rapidly and accurately explore the design space, physics-based first principles are emphasized and reliance on historical or empirical data is minimized. In this paper (Part II), we describe how a solar-powered flying-wing configuration may be optimized using a strategy similar to that described in Part I. A key design driver in this case is the suppression of an aeroelastic phenomenon, “Body-Freedom-Flutter”, resulting from strong modal interactions due to wing sweep. Consequently, for the present study, it is shown that resulting designs are stiffness-driven as opposed to the strength-driven characteristic of conventional configurations (tail-stabilized). In addition, potential benefits of recent progress in active flutter suppression technologies are investigated.

Latest Publications

Sustainable AI: Environmental Implications, Challenges and Opportunities

Carole-Jean Wu, Ramya Raghavendra, Udit Gupta, Bilge Acun, Newsha Ardalani, Kiwan Maeng, Gloria Chang, Fiona Aga Behram, James Huang, Charles Bai, Michael Gschwind, Anurag Gupta, Myle Ott, Anastasia Melnikov, Salvatore Candido, David Brooks, Geeta Chauhan, Benjamin Lee, Hsien-Hsin S. Lee, Bugra Akyildiz, Max Balandat, Joe Spisak, Ravi Jain, Mike Rabbat, Kim Hazelwood

MLSys - 2022