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Ch9CaseStudies.doc - INTRODUCTION TO AERONAUTICS A DESIGN...

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INTRODUCTION TO AERONAUTICS: A DESIGN PERSPECTIVE CHAPTER 9: CASE STUDIES AND FUTURE AIRCRAFT DESIGNS “ [Concerning] engines of war, the invention of which has long since reached its limit, and for the improvement of which I see no further hope in the applied arts ...” Sextus Julius Frontius, Roman engineer “In the development of air power, one has to look ahead and not backward and figure out what is going to happen, not too much of what has happened.” Billy Mitchell 9.1 INTRODUCTION In this final chapter, you are invited to consider several examples of the design method as it has been applied to several interesting and important aircraft, and to thoughts of future aircraft. The knowledge and skills in aeronautics and the design method which you have gained by working through the previous chapters should have given you a greater ability to appreciate the material which follows. These design examples or case studies include descriptions of the influence of technology and customer needs on each design, and of the many decisions and compromises which had to be made in order to bring each aircraft into existence. Each case study also shows that each aircraft was shaped by many iterations through the design cycle, often involving progressive improvement of earlier designs into the final form of the aircraft. Chapter 1 gave you an overview of the design method with an example, a description of engineering design in an aeronautical context, and a brief introduction to the history of aircraft design. Figures 1.3 and 1.7 should have served to inform you that design can be thought of as a cyclical process that requires creative synthesis, that it is heavily dependent on detailed analysis and that, in practice, it must converge on a solution. Engineering design is not only a matter of focusing on the right questions -- decisions and corresponding solutions are required! Chapters 2 through 8 were created to introduce you to some of the terminology, procedures, and issues of aeronautics in the context of aircraft design. In this last chapter, we want to leave you with some background on design successes of the past as well as some of the challenges and opportunities that exist in aircraft design today. Recall the following quote from Theodore von Karman: “A scientist discovers that which exists. An engineer creates that which never was.” The central theme of this book is that design, and the creative work that it entails, is the essence of engineering. 9.2 CASE STUDY #1 - THE 1903 WRIGHT FLYER The body of written material on the Wright brothers is immense. Their epic achievement which culminated in the first sustained flight of a manned powered aircraft is truly one of the turning-points in human history. The next few paragraphs will attempt only to identify how the Wright brothers used the scientific (design) method described in Chapter 1 to make the many breakthroughs which ushered in the aviation age. For some extremely interesting and inspiring reading in more detail on the Wrights and
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