Control surface design for radio-controlled aircraft. Case: SAE Aero Design Micro-class prototype




Aircraft, aerodynamics, XFLR5, design methodology, fluid dynamics


This research article presents a design methodology for primary control surfaces (Ailerons, Rudder and Elevator) for experimental unmanned radio-controlled aircraft. The methodology is based on the proposal and standardization of the required mechanical and aerodynamic analysis for each control surface sizing, considering the SAE Aero Design competition objectives within Micro Class. It is used on empirical results previously described in references about aeronautical design, computerized fluids dynamics (CFD) software, and aircraft controllability regulations in order to obtain the design variables. Based on this information, the iteration sequences required for design were automated by a C++ language code to obtain the optimal characteristics for each surface, thereby reducing the possibility of calculation errors, overall time, and workload invested in the design process. The application of the methodology to the latest aircraft design reduced the total control systems weight to the aircraft’s empty weight ratio to a minimum of 3.4%.

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Author Biographies

Rafael A. Márquez, Universidad Metropolitana

Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Engineering Student

Miguel A. Martínez, Universidad Metropolitana

Mechanical Engineering Student

Manuel J. Martínez, Universidad San Sebastián

Professor, Civil and Industrial Engineering


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How to Cite

Márquez, R. A. ., Martínez, M. A., & Martínez, M. J. (2021). Control surface design for radio-controlled aircraft. Case: SAE Aero Design Micro-class prototype. Revista Facultad De Ingeniería Universidad De Antioquia, (104), 71–82.

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