Optimal Design of a High-altitude Solar-Powered Unmanned Airplane

Bento Silva de Mattos, Ney Rafael Secco, Eduardo Francisco Salles



This paper describes a multi-disciplinary design and optimization framework tailored for the conceptual development of high-altitude solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicles. The aircraft baseline configuration that the framework is able to handle is very similar to that of Zephyr, which is developed by the UK based company QinetiQ. The disciplines of aerodynamics, structures, stability, weight, and systems were considered and integrated into a modeFrontier® workflow, capable of providing a relatively simple sizing, but highly realistic airplane.


Airplane design; Solar energy; Multi-disciplinary design and optimization; Airpalne stability and control

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