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design of aircraft by Loughborough students

30 Oct 2018

Engineering students reach second place in global competition

Five students from Loughborough University’s Department of Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering have been awarded joint second place in an international aircraft design challenge.

The annual competition for the Undergraduate Team Aircraft Design – organised by the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) - challenged undergraduate students from across the globe to design a hybrid aircraft for the general aviation market.

The Loughborough students’ aircraft, codenamed ‘HEGAAsus’ was designed in collaboration with students from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

The team said that the aircraft “brings the latest development in hybrid powertrain technology to the four and six seat general aviation market, carrying its passengers up to 1000nmi at speeds in excess of 200kts”.

“Thanks to its hybrid powertrain, which optimises energy utilisation through two electric motors and a diesel engine, fuel burn is reduced by up to 50% compared to its nearest competitors. The HEGAAsus is due to enter into service in 2028 and aims to mark a step change in air travel.”

The team of ten included five Part D students from the department, who undertook the international collaboration as part of their final year group design module.

Although most of the work took place with the team split over two continents, video conferencing helped the teams to work on the design collaboratively throughout the year.

The students at Loughborough also hosted a visit for their American teammates just before Easter; this visit helped the team to advance the detail of their final design, which is something that particularly impressed the judges.