HSAC design update

This week was an eventful one in the world of the High Speed Aircraft Club. We had our normal Thursday administrative meeting, and then met on Friday for a design session.

During Thursday’s meeting, we decided on a tiered development approach. Essentially, each phase of construction, or “tier”, is intended as a proof-of-concept and proof-of-competence that we can use to attract additional funding and support to achieve the next tier.

  1. The first tier vehicle is a half-scale model to be used in the wind tunnel and in numerical simulations. It will be unpowered and have minimal electronics on board. This is the model we have designed, and we plan to begin construction early next week.
  2. The second tier vehicle will be a full-scale model to be used for powered vertical flight tests. It will be rocket propelled and have whatever avionics we can manage to complete by the time it’s ready; construction is tentatively slated for April.
  3. The third tier vehicle will be our actual test model. It will be built to full scale, turbine propelled, and have the full avionics, electronics, and telemetry suite. This will be the model we use for the speed record attempt, and is very tentatively scheduled for late summer 2011; flight tests should begin in the fall, with the record attempt sometime during the 2011-2012 winter season.

During the Friday design session, we (I and two others) designed the basic airframe on paper, and figured out the basic construction plan (how many pieces, made in such-and-so way, etc). For those interested in the technical details of the half-scale model:

  • The wing is to be a delta, with the leading edge swept at an angle of ~72.9°. The wings measure 20 cm from root to tip, with a root chord length of 65cm. We’re going with a NACA 6-series airfoil with zero camber and 0° angle of attack in level flight – it’s essentially a flat plate everywhere except the leading edge and the rear control surface.
  • The nose is to be a cylinder 25cm in length at 3.25cm in radius. The nose “cone” will be formed by cutting away material from the fore section of the cylinder.
  • The body is to be roughly rectangular when viewed from above, 20cm wide and 75cm long. When viewed from the front, it will resemble an eye. The body will be 14cm thick at its thickest point to accommodate the turbine in the full size model.

If there is interest, I can post some rough sketches of the initial design.

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