Concept Design: Initial Constraint Analysis
Having set out all the components we are interested in and the basic design process and tool choice options, we now begin to consider how to design an unmanned air vehicle (UAV) in earnest. As will already be obvious, the boundaries between the various phases of the design process - concept, preliminary, detail - are not particularly clear-cut, nor is a very precise terminology essential here. For the purposes of this chapter, we shall loosely define concept design as the phase of the design process leading up to (and ending with) the first detailed geometry model of the aircraft. The subsequent phases may still alter almost any feature of the design (in addition to adding more detail to its definition), but two major elements should be nailed down in the concept design process: the topology (or basic layout) of the airframe (including, in general, its fundamental structural philosophy, e.g., foam wings and carbon spars) and a first-order estimate of its scale. These are the two aspects we deal with in this chapter. First, however, we discuss the starting point of the unmanned aircraft design process - indeed, of any design process - the design brief.