Unmanned Air Vehicle Design

Course length:

3 Days



Course dates

Interested in attending? Have a suggestion about running this course near you?
Register your interest now

Want to run this event on-site? Enquire about running this event in-house


This three-day short course covers the design of unmanned air vehicles. The course will cover the history and classes of UAVs, requirement definition, command and control concepts and UAV aircraft design. It provides first-hand understanding of the entire design and development process for unmanned vehicles from their involvement in the DARPA MAV development and as the lead for the Army’s Brigade Combat Team Modernization Class I, Increment Two vehicle. The instructor is currently working towards first flight and was a key contributor to requirements development, conceptual design, design optimization. UAV’s history will be covered and the lessons learned and the breadth of the design space. UAV’s are and will be key components of aviation. From the nano sized flapping vehicles to the extreme duration of high altitude surveillance vehicles. Each student will be provided with the course notes.  The textbook, Fundamentals of Aircraft and Airship Design: Volume I -Aircraft Design, by Leland M. Nicolai is recommended for each attendee to purchase.

What You Will Learn:

  • UAV design is not a simple task that can be fully learned in a short time, however, the scope of the problem can be outlined
  • The design process is similar to any aircraft design, but there are unique tasks involved in replacing the intelligence of the pilot.
  • The long history of UAV’s and the breadth of the design space will be covered
  • Lessons learned from experience and by observation will be shared in the course.
  • We will cover the tools and techniques that are used to make design decisions and modifications.
  • Representative practical examples of UAV will be presented.

Course Outline:

  1. Introduction
    • Brief history of UAV’s “How did toys become useful?”
    • Classes of UAV’s
      • Fixed Wing
      • Rotary Wing / VTOL
      • Micro
  2. UAV Requirements Definition
    • Operational Concepts
    • Mission definition
    • Requirements Flow-down
  3. Command and Control Concepts
    • Ground based operation
    • Autonomous operation
    • Systems and subsystems definition
    • System Safety and Reliability Concerns
  4. UAV Aircraft Design
    • Configuration
    • Aerodynamics
    • Propulsion and propulsion system integration concepts
    • Structures
    • Performance
    • Flight Controls and Handling Qualities.
      • Operational influences on control strategies
      • Vehicle analysis & how it affects control strategies
      • Make sure you have enough sensor bandwidth
      • Making sure you have enough control surfaces / power / bandwidth (choosing an actuator)
      • Gust rejection and trajectory performance
  5. Case study Examples
    • Case study 1: Large turbine design
    • Case study 2: Small piston engine design
    • Cost Analysis
      • Development
      • Manufacturing
      • Operations
      • Disposal
    • Design Tools
    • Design Optimization


Mr. Paul Gelhausen is Founder, Managing Member and Chief Technical Officer of an aerospace company. He holds a B.S. and M.S. degrees in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan and Stanford University, respectively. Mr. Gelhausen provides technical managerial leadership in design, simulation, and testing of advanced ducted fan vehicle configurations as well as providing technical and managerial leadership in the definition of future vehicle requirements to satisfy mission scenarios, functional decomposition, concept development and detailed systems and technology analysis. Prior to founding the company Mr. Gelhausen was a former NASA Langley Engineer where he led the configuration design, aerodynamic design and aerodynamic validation elements of the multi-center Mars Airplane Program including requirements generation, technical specifications, analysis planning, test planning and overall management.


REGISTRATION: There is no obligation or payment required to enter the Registration for an actively scheduled course. We understand that you may need approvals but please register as early as possible or contact us so we know of your interest in this course offering.

SCHEDULING: If this course is not on the current schedule of open enrollment courses and you are interested in attending this or another course as an open enrollment, please contact us at (410)956-8805 or ati@aticourses.com. Please indicate the course name, number of students who wish to participate. and a preferred time frame. ATI typically schedules open enrollment courses with a 3-5 month lead-time. To express your interest in an open enrollment course not on our current schedule, please email us at ati@aticourses.com.

For on-site pricing, you can use the request an on-site quote form, call us at (410)956-8805, or email us at ati@aticourses.com.