With the ever increasing traffic density of civil aircraft, and the need for increased military precision in conflicts around the world, safer aircraft operations require more sophisticated avionic systems. 

This specialist option of the MSc Aerospace Vehicle Design provides you with an understanding of avionic systems design, analysis, development, test and airframe integration.


Overview

  • Start dateOctober or March
  • DurationOne Year
  • DeliveryTaught modules 10%, Group project 50%, Individual research project 40%
  • QualificationMSc
  • Study typeFull-time
  • CampusCranfield campus

Who is it for?

This course is suitable for students with a background in aeronautical or mechanical engineering or those with relevant industrial experience. It provides a taught engineering programme with a focus on the technical, business and management aspects of aircraft design in the civil and military aerospace sectors.

Why this course?

The Avionic Systems Design option aims to provide an understanding of avionic systems design, analysis, development, test and airframe integration. This includes a detailed look at robust and fault-tolerant flight control, advanced 4D flight management and RNP navigation, self-separation and collision avoidance and advanced digital data communications systems, as well as pilot-friendly and intelligent cockpit displays and situation awareness.

The course extent also covers future ATM systems which have been at the forefront of postgraduate education in aerospace engineering since 1946. Aerospace Vehicle Design at Cranfield University was one of the original foundation courses of the College of Aeronautics. Graduates of this course are eligible to join the Cranfield College of Aeronautics Alumni Association (CCAAA), an active community which hold a number of networking and social events throughout the year.

Cranfield University is well located for students from all over the world, and offers a range of library and support facilities to support your studies. This enables students from all over the world to complete this qualification whilst balancing work/life commitments. 


Informed by Industry

The course has an Industrial Advisory Committee with senior members from major UK aerospace companies, government bodies, and the military services. The committee meets twice a year to review and advise on course content, acquisition skills and other attributes are desirable from graduates of the course. Panel members include:

• Airbus
• BAE Systems
• BOEING
• Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces.
• GKN Aerospace
• Messier-Dowty
• Royal Air Force
• Royal Australian Air Force
• Thales UK

We also arrange visits to sites such as BAE Systems, Thales, GKN and RAF bases which specialise in the maintenance of military aircraft. This allows you to get up close to the aircraft and components to help with ideas for the group project.


Course details

This option is comprised of a number of mandatory modules and a minimum of 60 hours of optional modules, selected from a list of options. You are also required to complete a group design project and an individual research project. Delivered via a combination of structured lectures, industry guest lectures, computer based workshops and private study.

A unique feature of the course is that we have four external examiners; two from industry who assess the group design project and two from academia who assess the individual research project.


Course delivery

Taught modules 10%, Group project 50%, Individual research project 40%

Group project

The extensive group design project is a distinctive and unique feature of this course. This teamwork project takes place over six months, usually between October and March; and recreates a virtual industrial environment bringing together students with various experience levels and different nationalities into one integrated design team.

You will be given responsibility for the detailed design of a significant part of the aircraft, for example, flight control system, or navigation system. The project will progress the design of the aircraft and avionic systems from the conceptual phase through to the preliminary and detail design phases. You are required to run project meetings, produce system schematics and conduct detailed analyses of their design. Problem solving and project coordination must be undertaken on a team and individual basis. At the end of the project, groups are required to report and present findings to a panel of up to 200 senior engineers from industry. 

This element of the course is both real and engaging, and places the student group in a professional role as aerospace design engineers. Students testify that working as an integrated team on real problems is invaluable and prepares them well for careers in a highly competitive industry.

Watch past presentation YouTube videos to give you a taster of our innovative and exciting group projects:


Individual project

The individual research project aims to provide the training necessary for you to apply knowledge from the taught element to research, and takes place over six months. The project may be theoretical and/or experimental and drawn from a range of topics related to the course and suggested by teaching staff, your employer or focused on your own area of interest.

Example avionic systems design and analysis topics:
Design and implementation of real time ADS-B system based on software defined radio
4D Integrated flight management and traffic avoidance software system
Station keeping for flight formation in oceanic airspace
Air to air refuelling formation behaviour
Study and development of Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower simulation
RPAS/UTM integration simulation
Geo-Fencing software system
Intelligent Diagnostics/Prognostics (IDP) system
Flight formation in oceanic airspace
Development of navigation algorithms, based on surfaces of situation (non- autonomous)
Flight guidance systems to allow aircraft fly safely and efficiently within flow corridors.
Passenger egress simulation based on artificial intelligence approach
Investigation into remote co-pilot concept for strategic single-pilot operation
Slung load control
FPGA implementation of gain scheduled controllers
Flight control desktop demonstrator


Modules

Keeping our courses up-to-date and current requires constant innovation and change. The modules we offer reflect the needs of business and industry and the research interests of our staff and, as a result, may change or be withdrawn due to research developments, legislation changes or for a variety of other reasons. Changes may also be designed to improve the student learning experience or to respond to feedback from students, external examiners, accreditation bodies and industrial advisory panels.

To give you a taster, we have listed the compulsory and elective (where applicable) modules which are currently affiliated with this course. All modules are indicative only, and may be subject to change for your year of entry.


Course modules

Compulsory modules
All the modules in the following list need to be taken as part of this course

Aeronautical Communication Systems

Module Leader
  • Dr Huamin Jia
Aim

    To study different avionics communication systems and to provide students with an understanding in fundamental issues relating to communication systems design, integration and testing.


Syllabus
    • Digital Signals and representations (foundations of signals Processing)
    • Multiplexing and multiple access techniques (such as FDMA, TDMA, CDMA, CSMA, etc)
    • Modulation and demodulation techniques (such as QPSK, BPSK, M-ray, Noncoherent and coherent Demodulation methods)
    • Requirements for digital links systems
    • VDL system design (Mode 2, 3, 4)
    • Digital HF radio design, SATCOM system design
    • Installation and integration
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the underlying principles and issues relating to design, installation and testing associated with airborne communication systems.
2. Understand the operation of civil and military radio communication systems.
3. Design and develop radio communication systems for aeronautical applications.

Aerospace Software Engineering and ADA

Module Leader
  • Dr Huamin Jia
  • Dr Irfan Madani
Aim
    • To provide students with knowledge of the methods for the design and development of avionics software systems.
    • To give students an understanding of Ada language and the programming techniques.
Syllabus
    • Software Life-Cycle Engineering – Requirements Analysis, Design, Development and Test.
    • Design methodologies
    • Top-down vs bottom-up approaches
    • Object oriented design
    • Design for reusability and maintainability
    • Real-time considerations
    • Software verification and validation - Formal methods and standards
    • The Ada language. The LRM, data and programming structures.

    Classroom/laboratory exercises will be completed during this module. Solutions will be collected in by the tutor at the end of the module.
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Evaluate and discuss a conceptual understanding of software design methodologies
2. Discuss a working knowledge of the life-cycle implications in software design, development and test
3. Demonstrate a systematic understanding of Ada programming language
4. Use Ada programming language to implement software

Avionics Air Traffic Control

Module Leader
  • Dr Paco Saez
Aim

    This module aims to provide the students an understanding of current and future air traffic control and traffic flow management systems. The objective is to discuss current ATM standards and technology applied in the systems and to review the future concepts as described by SESAR/NextGen.

Syllabus
    • Air Traffic Control, Context
    • Air Traffic Control and Air Traffic Management
    • Air Traffic Control, Organizational Elements
    • Airspace Design
    • Air Traffic Control as Human Supervisory Control System
    • Air Traffic Control Operations
    • ATC Conflict Assessment
    • ATM Challenges

    A group laboratory exercise will be completed during this module. Solutions will be collected in by the tutor at the end of the module.


Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
  • Critically evaluate the current ATC systems, functions of different ATC components and ATC procedures.
  • Discuss the airspace classification and separation standards.
  • Describe the future CNS/ATM and the RNP/RNAV concept as proposed in SESAR/NextGen programmes.
  • Apply a systematic understanding of the basic approaches to development of capacity and delay models for future air traffic demands.

Aircraft Performance

Module Leader
  • Dr Craig Lawson
Aim

    To facilitate students’ in gaining fundamental knowledge of the theory of conventional fixed wing aircraft performance to a level suitable for an aerospace vehicle designer. In particular, to provide students with the ability to apply aircraft performance theory, practically in the context of aerospace vehicle design.


Syllabus
    • Introduction to Aircraft Performance
    • Aircraft Cruising Performance
    • Aircraft Climb and Descent Performance
    • Aircraft Take-off and Landing Performance
    • Aircraft Manoeuvre Performance
    • Flight Path Performance Estimation
    • Aircraft Performance Measurement

    A classroom exercise will be completed during this module. Solutions will be collected in by the tutor at the end of the module.
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Have knowledge of the performance of characteristic of conventional fixed wing aircraft.
2. Understand and be able to apply methods of estimation of flight path performance.
3. Be able to assess and evaluate the performance characteristics of a conventional aircraft.
4. Appreciate the importance of airworthiness requirements in conventional aircraft.

Aircraft Stability and Control

Module Leader
  • Dr Alastair Cooke
Aim

    To provide an introduction to the fundamentals of aircraft stability and control.

Syllabus
    • Stability, control and handling qualities relationships.
    • Aircraft aerodynamic controls.
    • Static equilibrium and trim.
    • Longitudinal static stability, trim, pitching moment equation, static margins.
    • Lateral-directional static stability.
    • Introduction to dynamic stability, first and second order responses.
    • Equations of motion and modal characteristics.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module the students will be able to:

  • Describe the concepts of: trim, stability and control.
  • Describe methods of providing static stability for a conventional aircraft.
  • Describe the modes of motion of a conventional aircraft.

Avionics Data Networking, Hardware Intergration and Testing

Module Leader
  • Dr Huamin Jia
Aim

    To study different data-bus architectures and to provide students with an understanding in fundamental issues relating to avionic hardware design, integration and testing.

Syllabus
    • Avionics hardware considerations – Cables, installation, electromagnetic and environmental requirements, power requirement
    • Avionics systems architectures – Federated, distributed, centralized, IMA
    • Aircraft data networks – Fundamental concepts: architectures, topologies and protocols
    • Aircraft data networks – Military, civil and commercial examples, including ARINC 429, ARINC 629, ARINC 659, MIL-1553, STANAG 3910, ACSB, CSDB and AFDX
    • Avionics systems integration and testing – Fundamental concepts
    • Avionics rig and laboratory functional tests
    • Avionics EMC/EMI and environmental testing
    • Avionics flight test techniques and instrumentation
    • Experimental data analysis methods
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Discuss various design, installation and testing issues associated with avionics hardware.
2. Understand the operation of civil and military data networks and their associated standards.
3. Specify avionics laboratory, ground and flight test principles and techniques.

Cockpit Environment

Aim
    To provide students with an understanding of the cockpit environment and the technologies supporting the modern flight deck.
Syllabus
    • The flight deck – A historical perspective.  Cockpit layout - modern military and civil scenarios
    • Flight Instruments - The Basic-T, engines, systems, other interface layouts
    • Displays
    o    Electro-mechanical displays.
    o    Head down displays – CRTs and AMLCDs.  Drivers, functions, technologies and performance
    o    Head up displays.  Drivers, functions, technologies and performance
    o    Helmet mounted displays.  Drivers, functions, technologies and performance
    o    Emerging HMI technologies and concepts
    • Flight Control
    o    Traditional flight control systems
    o    Fly-by-wire.  Drivers, technologies, integrity, value, flight envelope control.  A-320 case study
    • Situational Awareness
    o    The advanced / modern cockpit.  Challenges of information transfer in a complex environment and advanced machines.  Pitfalls, with case studies (incl. B757 accident in Latin America, A320 accident in France)
    o    Alert prioritization.  The dark and silent cockpit concept
    o    CFIT awareness –     TAWS – technologies and purpose
    o    Traffic awareness – TCAS – technologies and purpose
    • A classroom exercise will be completed during this module. Solutions will be collected in by the tutor at the end of the module
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
  • Explain the functions and layout of the cockpit human-machine interface (HMI)
  • Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the different capabilities and functions of various HMI technologies
  • Demonstrate a systematic understanding of flight control systems, and appreciate the merits of fly-by-wire technologies
  • Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the function and capability of surveillance systems such as ACAS and TAWS.

Control Systems

Module Leader
  • Dr James Whidborne
Aim

    To provide knowledge of the fundamentals of control engineering for the analysis and design of control systems in aerospace applications.

Syllabus
    • Feedback control system characteristics
    • Control system performance
    • Stability of Linear Feedback Systems
    • Root locus method
    • Frequency response method
    • Nyquist stability
    • Classical controller design
    • State variable controller design
    • Robust control
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Analyse and explain the stability, characteristics, behaviour and robustness of single input/ single- output feedback control systems.
2. Design controllers for single-input single-output systems.
3. Use modern PC-based CAD software to solve control engineering problems and design control systems using classical methods.
4. Recognise and explain the advantages and limitations of feedback and recognise the importance of robustness.

Design of Airframe Systems

Module Leader
  • Dr Craig Lawson
Aim
    To expand the students’ knowledge of airframe systems, their role, design and integration. In particular, to provide students with an appreciation of the considerations necessary when selecting aircraft power systems and the effect of systems on the aircraft as a whole.
Syllabus
    • Introduction to airframe systems
    • Systems design philosophy and safety
    • Aircraft secondary power systems
    • Aircraft pneumatics power systems
    • Aircraft hydraulics power systems
    • Aircraft electrical power systems
    • Flight control power systems
    • Aircraft environmental control
    • Aircraft oxygen systems
    • Aircraft icing and ice protection systems
    • Aircraft emergency systems
    • Aviation fuels and aircraft fuel systems
    • Engine off-take effects
    • Fuel penalties of systems
    • Advanced and possible future airframe systems
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Identify the main airframe systems in civil and military aircraft and explain their purposes and principles of operation.
2. Cite the sources of systems power and explain their architecture, generation and distribution methods.
3. Discuss the requirements for; identify types of equipment and systems used for; and perform basic analysis of environmental control and oxygen systems in aircraft.
4. Cite and explain the problems resulting from icing on aircraft and systems available to provide protection.
5. Identify and explain the major considerations to be made in the design of aircraft fuel systems and the major components and sub-systems, including aviation fuels.
6. Appraise the effects of airframe systems power provision on aircraft power plants.
7. Analyse fuel penalties resulting from a given system’s presence on an aircraft by carrying out basic calculations.
8. Recognise and interpret the reasons for, and possible types of changes, that may occur in airframe systems in the near future.

Fault Tolerant Avionics Design

Module Leader
  • Dr Huamin Jia
Aim

    To introduce the student to the principal methods for the design and development of fault – tolerant avionics systems.


Syllabus
    • Concepts of dependability
    • Fault, cause and effect
    • Hardware fault tolerance
    • Software fault tolerance
    • Failure detection techniques
    • Design of practical fault-tolerant avionics systems
    • Case study – Fault-tolerant navigation systems and flight control systems

    A homework exercise will be completed during this module. Solutions will be collected in by the tutor at the end of the module.
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Identify the basic principles and concepts of fault-tolerant design.
2. Understand principal hardware/software-implemented fault-tolerant methods.
3. Choose fault-tolerant architecture on the basis of dependability requirements.
4. Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the different advantages and limits of fault avoidance and fault tolerance techniques.

Flight Experience

Module Leader
  • Dr Alastair Cooke
Aim
    To provide students with flights in the Jetstream Flying Laboratory in support of the lecture course in Aircraft Aerodynamics, Aircraft Performance, and Aircraft Stability and Control. These flights are key for students who are from a non-aeronautical background, and will also serve as a refresher for the remaining students.
Syllabus
    • Measurement of aircraft drag and effect of flap (AD, SD & ASD).
    • Aircraft longitudinal static stability (AD & SD)
    • Avionic demonstration and inertial system accuracy (ASD)
    • Dynamic stability modes (AD, SD & ASD)
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  • Describe the flight test techniques used to measure simple aerodynamic parameters and assess navigation systems.
  • Describe the dynamic stability modes of a conventional aircraft.

Inertial and Satellite Navigation Systems

Module Leader
  • Dr Huamin Jia
  • Dr Irfan Madani
Aim

    To provide students with a comprehensive knowledge of inertial and satellite navigation systems.

Syllabus

    Inertial sensor technology

    • Accelerometers
    • Gyroscopes
    • Inertial sensor specifications.

    Mechanisation equations

    • Coordinate systems, position and direction cosine matrixes, quaternion equations
    • Inertial navigation algorithms and computation
    • Inertial system error analysis.

    Inertial navigation systems design

    • Gimballed platform systems
    • Attitude and heading reference system (AHRS)
    • Strapdown inertial systems
    • Inertial system calibration and alignment.

    Overview of GNSS – GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO and other systems

    • Space segment - satellites, orbit planes and altitudes
    • Ground segment - distributed control and monitoring stations
    • User segment – various kinds of user receivers.

    GPS positioning principles

    • Signal structure
    • Positioning and attitude determination algorithms
    • GPS error analysis, GPS integrity monitoring
    • GPS receiver design.

    Augmentation of GNSS

    • Space based augmentation
    • Ground based augmentation
    • Avionics based augmentation.

    GNSS Aviation Applications

    • GNSS for positioning, navigation and landing
    • GNSS for precise time dissemination
    • Differential GNSS and Test Range Applications
    • Other applications.
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Cite the various kinds of inertial sensors and navigation satellite systems.
2. Understand the advantages and disadvantages of inertial and GNSS systems.
3. Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the principles of inertial and GNSS navigation and the navigation computation methods.
4. Design and develop inertial and GPS navigation systems.

Integrated Navigation Systems

Module Leader
  • Dr Huamin Jia
Aim

    To introduce the student to the advanced techniques for design and development of integrated aircraft navigation systems.

Syllabus
    • Overview of multisensor data fusion
    • Kalman Filter techniques
    o Fundamentals, matrix and probability theories
    o System dynamic models,
    o Linear Kalman filter
    o Linearised and Extended Kalman filters
    o Statistical characteristics of Kalman Filters
    • Navigation System Error Dynamic Models
    o Inertial system error models
    • GNSS positioning and attitude determination models
    o Integrated Navigation System design
    o Integrated navigation system architectures
    o Integrated Kalman filter architectures
    o Integrated navigation algorithm design
    • Case study
    o Redundant inertial/Doppler/Air data/GPS integrated navigation systems

    A homework exercise will be completed during this module. Solutions will be collected in by the tutor at the end of the module.
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

1. Understand the design principles of various Kalman filters.
2. Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of different integrated navigation systems.
3. Analyse and model navigation system error dynamics.
4. Design and develop multisensor-based navigation software simulation systems.

Modelling of Dynamic Systems

Module Leader
  • Dr James Whidborne
Aim

    To provide an understanding of the mathematical techniques that underpin both classical and modern control law design.


Syllabus
    • The Laplace transform
    • Transfer-function approach to modelling dynamic systems
    • State-space approach to modelling dynamic systems
    • Time-domain analysis of simple dynamic systems
    • Frequency response of simple dynamic systems
    • Sampled-data and discrete time systems.


Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
  • Use Laplace transform techniques to derive transfer functions of typical mechanical, electrical and fluid systems
  • Calculate and plot the step and frequency responses of linear systems
  • Derive the state equations for typical systems
  • Obtain discrete time representations of linear systems
  • Use MATLAB for matrix and systems algebra and to plot system responses.

Radio Systems

Aim
    To provide an overview of radio propagation in the earth’s atmosphere and to give students a good understanding of the fundamentals of radio systems, radio navigational aids and radar.
Syllabus
    Electro-Magnetic Waves and Radio Propagation
    • The EM  spectrum, properties and propagation
    • Radio Transmission: LOS and beyond LOS transmission.  Multiplexing and modulation; Spread spectrum techniques; Antennas    

    Terrestrial Navigation
    Terrestrial Radio Navigational Aids
    DF, NDB, MB, VOR & DVOR, DME, ILS, MLS,  TACAN
    Doppler Navigation        

    Radar
    • Basic principles
    • Principle of operation and Radar Equations
    • Radar components – Transmitter,  Antenna, Receiver
    • Operational modes: CW, pulsed, pulse compression, SAR
    • Radar applications – surveillance systems, tracking systems, weather radar, radar altimeter
    • Radar cross-section and stealth technology
    • Pulsed radar: the implications of design considerations on radar performance; pre-detection integration and post-detection integration

    A classroom exercise will be completed during this module. Solutions will be collected in by the tutor at the end of the module.

Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
  • Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the underlying principles and issues relating to radio propagation in the earth’s atmosphere.
  • Describe the principles of operation of radio navigational aids and radar.
  • Select appropriate radio systems for communication and navigation.
  • Select performance criteria for radar applications.

Elective modules
A selection of modules from the following list need to be taken as part of this course

Aerospace System Development and Life Cycle Model

Module Leader
  • Tim Mackley
Aim

    To introduce the student to system engineering concepts, system lifecycle models and system design processes and methods.


Syllabus
    • Introduction to Systems
    • Life Cycle Models
    • System Requirements
    • Systems Design
    • System Integration, Verification and Validation
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Demonstrate a understanding of the basic concepts of the main life-cycle models.
2. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of these models.
3. Define and analyse system requirements and specifications.
4. Determine system development process and define the work to be performed at different development phases.
5. Apply development life-cycle models to the AVD Group project.

Aircraft Aerodynamics

Module Leader
  • Professor Howard Smith
Aim

    The aim of this module is to provide knowledge of the Atmosphere and of the aerodynamic characteristics of a conventional aircraft in the context of its mechanics of flight.

Syllabus
    • Atmosphere Mechanics: structure of the atmosphere, international standard atmosphere model, design atmospheres.
    • Air Data Systems: Pitot-static systems. Altitude, airspeed and Mach number. Air temperature and airflow direction detectors.
    • Basic flight mechanics: forces acting on the aircraft, balance and trim. The forces of lift and drag and their characteristic dependencies.
    • Powerplant thrust characteristics: effects of weight, altitude, temperature and Mach number.
    • Aircraft axis systems.
    • The aerodynamic aspects of the outline design process of a transport aircraft.
    This module has additional accompanying flying laboratory tutorials in the Jetstream Aircraft. See Flight Experimental Methods (FXM).
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Demonstrate knowledge of the characteristics of the international standard atmosphere and design atmospheres.
2. Identify aircraft air data systems and air data measurement.
3. Identify the basic force system of a conventional aircraft.
4. Demonstrate an ability to calculate the principle aerodynamic forces of lift and drag.
5. Perform a simple initial aerodynamic design of an aircraft.
6. Apply their knowledge and skills to the aerodynamic aspects of the Group Design Project aircraft.

Aircraft Power Plant Installation

Aim

    To introduce students to the engine and aircraft-related aspects of the propulsion system, with the primary emphasis being placed on gas turbine engines.

Syllabus
    • Simple gas turbine theory illustrating the effect of gas turbine cycle parameters.
    • Relations between specific fuel consumption, specific range and thermal and overall efficiencies for various engine types including turbo-props.
    • Choice of cycle for various applications.
    • Brief assessment of engine size required and engine / airframe matching including the importance of the airworthiness performance requirements.
    • Impact of engine rating on engine / airframe matching.
    • Impact on engine installation of various systems required by the aircraft.

Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Understand how a propulsion system is defined.
2. Assess the performance interface between the engine and the airframe.

Computer Aided Design (CAD)

Aim

    The aim of this module is to introduce students to the role of Computer Aided Design technologies in a modern Integrated Product Development process and provide hands-on experience of CAD using the CATIA v5 software.


Syllabus
    • Introduction to Integrated Product Development (IPD) for aircraft design
    • Overview of Computer Aided Design, Manufacture and Engineering tools and their role in IPD
    • Introduction to CAD modelling techniques:
    o Solid Modelling
    o Assembly Modelling
    o Parametric Design
    o Surface Modelling
    o Drafting
    • Hands on CATIA exercises using CATIA v5 including fuselage and wing design exercises
    • Using CATIA for the Group Design Project.
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Explain the role of Computer Aided technologies in the aircraft development process.
2. Differentiate between Computer Aided Design, Computer Aided Manufacture and Computer Aided Engineering and understand the information flows between these tools.
3. Select appropriate CAD modelling techniques for a variety of design applications.
4. Use Computer Aided Design software to create simple 3D models using solid, assembly and surface modelling techniques.
5. Apply their knowledge and skills to design aircraft components as part of the Group Design Project.

Design for Manufacture and Operation

Module Leader
  • Professor Howard Smith
Aim

    To ensure that while the student designs his/her structure he/she is aware of the constraint imposed by manufacturing and operational considerations.

    The influence of designing for maintainability will have a considerable effect on the design of both the structure and aircraft systems and a considerable effect on the life cycle cost of the vehicle. The taught material will have immediate practical application to the Group Design Project.


Syllabus
    • Wing configuration and manufacture. Fuselage layout and manufacture.
    • Flaps and control surfaces: Structural configuration and mechanisms.
    • Assembly and production processes.
    • Maintainability and accessibility.
    • Design for Assembly.
    • Design for Maintainability.

    A classroom exercise will be completed during this module. Solutions will be collected in by the tutor at the end of the module.
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Understand the influence of design for manufacture and maintainability on both structure and aircraft systems.
2. Apply their knowledge and skills to the Group Design Project.

Initial Aircraft Design

Module Leader
  • Professor Howard Smith
Aim
    To introduce students to the process of aircraft conceptual design and support structural layout work, were required, through participation on the Group Design Project.
Syllabus
    • Aircraft project design process
    • Drag and weight prediction:  Drag sources, polar, estimation, weight prediction methods. Layout aspects:  wing; power plant; landing gear; fuselage
    • Simple tail plane and fin layout
    • Overall project synthesis and case study of aircraft
    • Structural requirements, - strength, stiffness and serviceability
    • Analysis of requirements, sources of load and reference datum lines
    • Role of structural members - main plane, stabilisers, auxiliary surfaces, fuselage
    • Analysis and sizing methods - elementary theories
    • Departures from elementary theories - constraint effects, cut outs, buckling.

    This module has additional accompanying tutorials and workshops as required.

    A miniature group PBL conceptual design project will be completed during this module. Solutions will be collected in by the tutor at the end of the module.


Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the multidisciplinary nature of aircraft design.
2. Identify the functional role of the structural elements of the entire airframe.
3. Demonstrate an understanding of the top level aircraft design to put the detailed design of one aircraft component into context.
4. Perform a simple conceptual design of an aircraft.
5. Apply their knowledge and skills to derive the initial structural layout of the Group Design Project aircraft.

Integrated Vehicle Health Management

Aim

    To provide the student with an introduction to the leading IVHM technologies and concepts being implemented in various health monitoring systems, and their application to aircraft design.

    IVHM has become an integral part of Aerospace Vehicle Design. Students will be able to comprehend IVHM techniques and be able to use them in AVD Group Design Project.


Syllabus
    • Failure Modes, Effects and Criticality Analysis (FMECA) and different tools available
    • Sensors and Instrumentation for different aircraft sub-systems (aircraft structures, aero-propulsion systems, electric power and power distribution systems, avionics, etc.)
    • Fault detection and isolation techniques
    • Reasoning methods (model-based, case-based, etc.) and their use in aircraft health management
    • Prognosis approaches for aircraft health management
    • Physics of failure approaches
    • IVHM Design for aircraft health management
    • Structural health monitoring
    • Cost benefit analysis of IVHM implementation
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

1. Communicate unambiguously IVHM terminology and apply it correctly, given that the IVHM is a developing field.
2. Demonstrate an understanding of the key IVHM Concepts; failure modes, failure effects, failure symptoms, sensors, detection, diagnostics, prognostics, etc.
3. Select appropriate sensors and instrumentation for different sub-systems of the aircraft.
4. Build a diagnostics/prognostics algorithm(s) for different sub-systems of the aircraft.
5. Design IVHM systems for different sub-systems of the aircraft in the Group Design Project.

Landing Gear Design

Aim
    To provide students with a general understanding of the design of landing gear and the associated systems and the associated challenges of integrating them into an airframe. The module also aims to highlight the implications that the design of the landing gear has on the aircraft layout and structure.
Syllabus
    • Landing gear layout (Skids, flying boats, tricycle, bicycle, multi-wheel etc.)
    • Ground flotation (Aircraft Classification Number [ACN] & Pavement Classification Number [PCN])
    • Tyres (Failure modes and causes and wear. Radial vs. Cross-ply)
    • Wheels (Bowl type vs. ‘A’ type)
    • Brakes
    • Struts (Cantilever vs. Trailing arm)
    • Loads (Ground loads and airframe attachment loads)
    • Shock Absorbers (Single acting and double acting. Compression curves)
    • Retraction
    • Ground manoeuvring (Steering)
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
  • Evaluate the various landing gear layout schemes and assess which is best for any particular aircraft layout.
  • Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the procedures and steps for positioning the landing gear on the aircraft (longitudinally and laterally).
  • Critique historic landing gear designs and understand why various design decisions have been made and analyse their impacts on the aircraft.

Reliability, Safety Assessment and Certification

Aim
    To provide students with an introduction to the aircraft airworthiness as well as knowledge of reliability assessment methods, safety assessment methods, and certification issues associated with the design of Aircraft Systems (including weapon systems and survivability). To familiarise the students with current air accidents investigation techniques and processes.
Syllabus
    • Airworthiness
    • Reliability
    • Reliability requirements – JAR25-AC.1309
    • Probabilities of failure, MTBF, MTBR, etc.
    • Reliability models – series and parallel systems, common mode failures
    • Safety Assessment Analysis Methods
    • Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA)
    • Fault Tree Analysis (FTA)
    • Reliability predictions
    • Common Cause Analysis (CCA)
    • System Safety Assessment Process
    • Functional Hazard Analysis (FHA)
    • Preliminary System Safety Assessment (PSSA)
    • Air Accidents Investigation

    A classroom exercise will be completed during this module. Solutions will be collected in by the tutor at the end of the module.


Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Demonstrate an understand of the aircraft certification process and how aircraft design is driven by airworthiness requirements.
2. Identify system safety requirements
3. Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the procedures and steps for system safety assessment
4. Develop system reliability models and perform safety assessment at different levels
5. Simulate and analyse system reliability

Teaching team

You will be taught by a range of Cranfield’s leading experts with many years of industrial experience: The teaching on some taught modules is also supported by lectures from visiting speakers from both industry and the military. Former speakers have included senior representatives from: Airbus BAE Systems Boeing Eurocopter.

Accreditation

The MSc in Aerospace Vehicle Design is accredited by the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS).  Candidates must hold a CEng accredited BEng/BSc (Hons) undergraduate first degree to comply with full CEng registration requirements.

Your career

The Avionic Systems Design option is valued and respected by employers worldwide. The applied nature of this course ensures that our graduates are ready to be of immediate use to their future employer and has provided sufficient breadth of understanding of multi-discipline design to position them for accelerated career progression.

This course prepares graduates for careers as project design engineers, systems design, structural design or avionic engineers in aerospace or related industries, with the aim of progressing to technical management/chief engineer. Graduates from the MSc in Avionic Systems Design can therefore look forward to a varied choice of challenging career opportunities in the above disciplines. 

Many of our graduates occupy very senior positions in their organisations, making valuable contributions to the international aerospace industry. Typical student destinations include BAE Systems, Airbus, Dassault and Rolls-Royce plc.

How to apply

Online application form. UK students are normally expected to attend an interview and financial support is best discussed at this time. Overseas and EU students may be interviewed by telephone.