Aircraft Design Projects for Engineering Students

If you are studying engineering, you may be interested in eventually working in the field of aircraft design. A variety of engineering issues come to play in aircraft design, including power supplies, control systems and component design, all of which are suitable topics for engineering student design projects.

  1. Remote Control

    • In an unmanned aircraft, remote control is required to safely operate and navigate the plane. Remotely controlled aircraft are finding use in the military in the form of drones, which allow people to send planes into combat situations for reconnaissance and weapons delivery without endangering the lives of pilots. Remote control could also be a useful addition to piloted aircraft, enabling ground crews to take over if the pilot and copilot are incapacitated. Design a remote control aircraft you can operate from the ground using signals from a radio transmitter.

    Smart Wing

    • The shape and maneuverability of an aircraft's wings are crucial factors in enabling it to fly efficiently. Conventional wing designs call for hydraulics and electronic motors to control the shape and movement of the wings, so pilots can navigate, ascend and descend. Design a smart wing made with materials that can be manipulated through the application of heat from electrical current, so that heavy hydraulics and motors are no longer needed.


    • Conventional aircraft designs rely on fuel-burning engines, which require them to take into account the weight of fuel into the carrying capacity of the plane, as well as having to land periodically to refuel. Design an unmanned aircraft that uses solar power and can sustain flight for a specified period of time, such as 24 hours. You will need to make sure the amount of energy generated by the solar panels is sufficient to keep the aircraft going, while also diverting some energy to batteries so the plane can continue to fly at night.

    Human-Powered Helicopter

    • As long as people have observed birds flying in the air, they have wondered whether humans would ever be able to achieve flight using only the power of their own muscles. Design a lightweight helicopter that one thin, athletic person can use. Devise a power-generating system, such as bicycle pedals or hand controls the pilot can move continuously to generate sufficient power to lift the helicopter into flight.

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