Course Title: Design and Airworthiness of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles - UAVs

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Design and Airworthiness of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles - UAVs

Credit Points: 12.00

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


115H Aerospace, Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering


Sem 2 2006,
Sem 2 2007,
Sem 2 2008

Course Coordinator: Dr Arvind Sinha

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9645 4541

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: Wackett Aerosapce Centre, 850 Lorimer Street, Port Melbourne, Vic 3207

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

This course requires AERO 2358 Fundamentals of Aerodynamics and AERO 2355 Systems Engineering as specific pre-requisite courses.

Course Description

This course covers the operation, design, development and airworthiness issues and challenges. It covers the present status of the technology  and includes an analysis of the world UAV inventory -classifications, design concepts, and cost-benefit analysis.

The course covers a range of topics and includes: a) Operational challenges (Manned vs Unmanned); b) Design & development status and challenges; c) Aerodynamic design challenges; d) Propulsion systems (Conventional & Unconventional); e) Mission systems onboard and offboard; and f) Airworthiness regualtion issues.

Students will learn about the issues associated with the futuristic roles & missions envisaged for the UAVs and the development of associated design concepts to meet the mission requirments.

The course will adopt a holistic approach to the issues and challenges of unmanned aerial platforms from an operation and design perspective. The learning process is reinforced through problem-based learning using futuristic design and airworthiness issues to be addressed.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Students will gain or improve capabilities in:

• Technical competence: this course prepares students to be able to conduct conceptual design of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), and assess its performance and airworthiness.
• Integrative Perspective: Students will be introduced to the evolution of unmanned platforms, their role and basic functional characteristics. Students will develop a holistic awareness of a range of factors that impact on UAV function – aircraft aerodynamics and performance parameters; existence of limitations to the capabilities of an autonomous aircraft; challenges that apply to the operation of unmanned platforms in conjunction with manned platforms.
• Professional Skills: student capabilities relating to communication and working in teams will be improved through group work in a design project, and through presentation of written and verbal reports.

On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

• Demonstrate understanding of the issues and challenges of the operation, design and development of UAV platforms and its application to the design of a platform for a particular role and class of UAV.
• Demonstrate ability to address the various mission payloads - on board & offboard, propulsion systems, integration with manned systems and regulatory issues in the design process.

Overview of Learning Activities

Learning is achieved through intensive lectures supported by parallel project work. The course contains one group design project and an assignment, in which students will analyse futuristic issues and challenges to be addressed in the aircraft design & development process from an autonomous perspective, for a defined role and class of UAV.

Overview of Learning Resources

Course notes are provided.  Reference texts are available in the Library.

Overview of Assessment

Students will be assessed through group assignment, project,  examination and a seminar presentation.