Design and Manufacturing Leads
The Design & Manufacturing subteam is a great way to learn the practical application of aircraft design principles. D&M focuses on almost every aspect of the airplane's design and construction. This sub team challenges members to think practically and balance what is desired from the design with what can be done practically.
The typical production cycle for D&M spans almost the entire time frame from when the rules are published to the competition (about 8 months). In this time period, a diverse range of tasks need to be completed which gives a very in-depth experience towards all of the details of practical construction of the aircraft.
After the specifications of the aerodynamic surfaces are obtained from the Aerodynamics sub team, D&M begins working on the design of the aircraft by brainstorming possible solutions to existing problems. After an agreement has been reached on solutions, the team begins modeling the aircraft in programs such as Solidworks. The team makes cut files of all of the parts that need to be cut with a laser or water-jet, such as the ribs in the wings and bulkheads in the fuselage. After the preliminary design phase is complete, the team begins working on the construction of the aircraft. Construction of each plane takes about a month. During this phase, detailed problem solving begins for small aspects of the design that cannot be modeled by computer, giving a great opportunity to use engineering on a small scale. Another aspect of the construction phase include forming composite layups with carbon fiber, a skill that is very useful in the aerospace industry.