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Aircraft Layout and Component Design Methods

Master the procedures used to assemble the structural components of an aircraft in this free online engineering course.

Publisher: NPTEL
This free online aerospace engineering course explains how to select the conceptual shape, location and size of an aircraft. We compare the advantages and disadvantages of various structural layouts and components. Aerospace and aeronautical engineers are the elite professionals who drive the aviation industry so sign up to learn more about this cutting-edge industry that allows humanity to ‘slip the surly bonds of Earth’.
Aircraft Layout and Component Design Methods
  • Duration

    4-5 Hours
  • Students

  • Accreditation






View course modules


This free online aerospace engineering course teaches you the relative location, shape and size of various aircraft components as we examine wing geometry, the propulsion system, tailplane configuration and undercarriage layout. In the first section, we consider how the functional requirements, safety and reliability features and design specifications of airliners appeal to customers. We take you through the various layout possibilities of an aircraft, which address the position of the wings, propulsion system and the number of engines to be used. These functional characteristics of various components will then determine the layout objectives for the aircraft, types of aircraft engine configurations and the location for ‘mounting’. We then study the differences in the tail configurations, the structural features of the wing and the layout arrangement of the gear. We take a close look at major aircraft engines, tail and landing gear types and the advantages and disadvantages of integrating these components.

We then move on to initial sizing and explain how to estimate the design take-off weight using the stats available from the aircraft’s mission profiles. Methods for initial sizing adopt empirical or semi-empirical models that largely depend on historical data and involve estimations of weight parameters, mission segment weight, mission fuel fraction and other important parameters that constitute mission profile. We then analytically dissect the topics of drag, lift-to-drag coefficient, lift coefficient and the concept of 'angle of attack'. The course then demonstrates how to pass your conceptual design ideas to other engineers by creating a 3-D digital model using a parametric geometry tool.

Finally, the course covers the different types of flaps and how they can confer superior climbing performance on an aircraft. Over the years, such components have improved to make flights more efficient, safer and faster. This course suits anyone interested in the field of aeronautics, aeronautical engineering or aerospace engineering. The reliability of aircraft components is sharply defined by their structural configuration and their layout determines the plane’s specifications - so learning how to match design specifications to the customer’s needs is an essential skill for aspiring aircraft designers.

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