Students develop next-generation aircraft

DLR De­sign Chal­lenge

Presentation of the ‘Urban Ray’ concept
Pre­sen­ta­tion of the ‘Ur­ban Ray’ con­cept
Image 1/7, Credit: © DLR. All rights reserved

Presentation of the ‘Urban Ray’ concept

Cem Uyanık of RWTH Aachen Uni­ver­si­ty presents the ‘Ur­ban Ray’ con­cept at the fi­nal sym­po­sium of the Ger­man part of the NASA/DLR De­sign Chal­lenge 2020.
Online presentation of the HyZero concept
On­line pre­sen­ta­tion of the HyZe­ro con­cept
Image 2/7, Credit: © DLR. All rights reserved

Online presentation of the HyZero concept

The par­tic­i­pat­ing teams pre­sent­ed their con­cepts to the ju­rors dur­ing an on­line con­fer­ence.
HyBird - the winning concept of the Stuttgart team
Hy­Bird - the win­ning con­cept of the Stuttgart team
Image 3/7, Credit: University of Stuttgart.

HyBird - the winning concept of the Stuttgart team

The team from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Stuttgart won with the Hy­Bird de­sign - an air­craft with high wing con­fig­u­ra­tion with a Coan­da flap sys­tem, a V-tail, and con­ven­tion­al fuse­lage. The ju­ry rat­ed the choice of a hy­brid propul­sion sys­tem with two tur­bines for pow­er gen­er­a­tion and the op­tion of switch­ing off a sys­tem dur­ing cruis­ing as a very in­no­va­tive ap­proach to en­er­gy ef­fi­cien­cy. This opens up the pos­si­bil­i­ty of low con­sump­tion, es­pe­cial­ly at cruis­ing speed. A ‘bat­tery boost’ of up to 180 kilo­watts en­able a ful­ly elec­tric take-off. The stu­dents al­so re­duced noise emis­sions through the po­si­tion and size of the drives. The mem­bers of the ju­ry were al­so im­pressed by the stu­dents’ re­al­is­tic cal­cu­la­tions for op­er­at­ing costs, and ideas for eas­i­ly con­vert­ing a com­muter air­craft to a car­go con­fig­u­ra­tion were the cher­ry on top.
Participants in the DLR/NASA Design Challenge in Braunschweig
Par­tic­i­pants in the DLR/NASA De­sign Chal­lenge in Braun­schweig
Image 4/7, Credit: ©DLR

Participants in the DLR/NASA Design Challenge in Braunschweig

This year’s NASA/DLR De­sign Chal­lenge fea­tured sub­mis­sions by 41 stu­dents from sev­en teams at six Ger­man uni­ver­si­ties.
The ‘eRay’ aircraft concept by the winning team from TU Munich
The ‘eR­ay’ air­craft con­cept by the win­ning team from TU Mu­nich
Image 5/7, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

The ‘eRay’ aircraft concept by the winning team from TU Munich

The win­ning team from TU Mu­nich de­signed an air­craft with an in­te­grat­ed tur­bo-elec­tric propul­sion sys­tem. No­tice­able fea­tures in­clude en­gine units on the trail­ing edges of the wings and a slight­ly raised tail plane, which fa­cil­i­tates easy in­te­gra­tion of an en­gine en­clos­ing the rear of the air­craft.
'HELESA' of the University of Stuttgart
'HELE­SA' of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Stuttgart
Image 6/7, Credit: University of Stuttgart (CC-BY 3.0)

'HELESA' of the University of Stuttgart

An in­no­va­tive con­cept for a su­per­son­ic air­craft – an en­vi­ron­men­tal suc­ces­sor to Con­corde as it were – was pre­sent­ed by a team from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Stuttgart and award­ed third place. The con­cept 'HELE­SA' pro­pos­es a long-stretched air­craft with dis­tinc­tive vari­able for­ward swept wings.
Inauguration in Hamburg
In­au­gu­ra­tion in Ham­burg
Image 7/7, Credit: © DLR. All rights reserved

Inauguration in Hamburg

DLR Ex­ec­u­tive Board Mem­ber re­spon­si­ble for Aero­nau­tics Rolf Henke in­au­gu­rates the event in Ham­burg.

Already during your studies, you can steer aeronautical engineering in new directions with your own ideas. Developing designs for efficient, low-emission and environmentally friendly aircraft that address the challenges faced by the world now and in the future. This is the task that the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) has been setting students throughout Germany since 2017. Each year, a different topic is addressed as part of the DLR Design Challenge.

Motivation and objective

The air transport sector will face enormous economic and environmental challenges in the coming years. These require innovative and sustainable ideas and approaches in order to offer added value to society. In this context, since 2017 DLR has held an annual competition for students to come up with futuristic aircraft concepts that are geared towards current areas of focus in aeronautics research. Most importantly, the designs should comprise a coherent overall concept, with a focus on the specific key theme for that year's competition. New issues are emerging in aeronautics research, particularly against the background of climate change and digitalisation. The design concepts should properly engage with issues that are currently critical in aircraft design, with a view to shaping the aeronautical technologies of the future with new innovations and visions. Radical new ideas are therefore required. In recent years, for example, hydrogen-powered aircraft, parcel-delivery drones, and supersonic aircraft have been designed to have a significantly reduced environmental impact.

The DLR Design Challenge 2022 looks at the increasing danger of forest fires as a result of climate change and asks contestants to come up with concepts for modern aeronautical systems that can effectively combat forest fires while being both cost and energy efficient. Tackle it as a team and submit your concept.

Procedure

Any students who are interested can register through their university department. They will then receive an invitation to the kick-off event, which usually takes place at a DLR location. The task for this year will be announced there. Some general information about the Design Challenge will also be given, along with an introduction to the topic by experts who are dealing with the issue in their research work. Students will also have the opportunity to exchange ideas with participants from other universities as part of a workshop. The aircraft designs and whole-system concepts will then be developed over a period of several months.

Once the reports have been submitted, the Design Challenge will culminate in the final event, which will also take place at a DLR location. A jury of DLR experts, made up of the Divisional Board Member for Aeronautics and several institute directors from the field of aeronautics research, is responsible for reviewing and evaluating the aircraft designs. This evaluation will be based on the reports and presentations that have been submitted. Finally, the winning teams will be announced and congratulated.

The award-winning teams will be able to present their aircraft concepts at an aeronautics conference and receive an exclusive insight into one of the aeronautics research institutes.

If the applicable COVID-19 regulations in force do not allow the opening and closing events to be held on site, they will take place virtually. This will be announced well in advance.

Timeline

Early quarter 1Announcement of the DLR Design Challenge topic and timeline
Quarter 1Registration of the teams through the responsible supervisors at their university via e-mail
Late quarter 1Kick-off event at DLR, release of the detailed task
Quarter 2Question-and-answer session, answering questions about the task, virtual
Early quarter 3Submission of the design reports in English (contents of bachelor and master theses may be included)
Quarter 3Closing event at DLR, presentation of the results and award ceremony
Late quarter 3Contribution to an aeronautics conference by the winning teams
Contact
  • Tobias Dietl
    Or­gan­i­sa­tion DLR De­sign Chal­lenge 2022
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)
    In­sti­tute of Sys­tem Ar­chi­tec­tures in Aero­nau­tics
    Hein-Saß-Weg 22
    21129 Hamburg
    Contact
  • Patrick Ratei
    Or­gan­i­sa­tion DLR De­sign Chal­lenge 2022
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)
    In­sti­tute of Sys­tem Ar­chi­tec­tures in Aero­nau­tics
    Hein-Saß-Weg 22
    21129 Hamburg
    Contact
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