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Learning Module #1: Green Flight Challenge Design. Jim Bowlin RET 7-30-10. ERAU Concept #1. Electric Motor Solar film on wings. ERAU Concept #2. batteries. Fuel cells. Hydrogen tank. Fuel cell and hydrogen tank replaces small gasoline motor. Electric motor. batteries.

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Learning module 1 green flight challenge design
Learning Module #1:Green Flight Challenge Design

Jim Bowlin RET 7-30-10

Erau concept 1
ERAU Concept #1

  • Electric Motor

  • Solar film on wings

Erau concept 2
ERAU Concept #2


Fuel cells



Fuel cell and hydrogen tank replaces small gasoline motor

Electric motor


Batteries in the wing used for max power on take-off

Green flight challenge design
Green Flight Challenge Design

  • GFC sponsored by NASA and Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency Foundation

  • Hands-on design project done periodically throughout the school year

  • Each activity/worksheet corresponds to course material

  • Details on http://cafefoundation.org/v2/gfc_main.php

  • Set up student teams to function as companies

  • Teams consider technical solutions, environment, cost , physics applications

  • Teams answer worksheet questions and make posters of their designs

  • Teams will make three design iterations:

    • Preliminary

    • Critical

    • Final

Areas of emphasis

  • -Identify sources of information and defend. SC.912.N.1.4

  • -Compare reasonable existing solutions. SC.912.N.1.5

    • -Determine the performance of the aircraft based on kinematics, dynamics, forces

    • and force diagrams. SC.912.P.12.1, SC.912.P.12.2

    • -Explain propulsion and forces on the aircraft in terms of Newton 3. SC.912.P.12.3

    • -Determine/calculate/ analyze / explain energy /efficiency of the aircraft / power plant

    • qualitatively and quantitatively. SC.912.P.110.3

    • -Explain / show / demonstrate conservation of energy throughout the project.

    • SC.912.P.10.2

    • -Design a simple electric circuit for propulsion and communications. SC.912.P.10.15

    • -Present and defend the design upon project completion. SC.912.N.1.3

    • -Analyze environmental impact, cost and benefits. SC.912.E.6.6

  • Areas of Emphasis

    Gfc rules requirements
    GFC Rules & Requirements investigations, research, and data

    • Main Prize: $1,500,000

    • Performance

      • Range - 200 miles with 30 minute reserve

      • Efficiency – 200 Passenger-MPGe energy equivalency

      • Speed – 100 mph average

      • Take-off Distance – 2000 ft

      • Minimum Speed – 52 mph

      • Weight – less than 6500 lbs

      • Fuels/ energy allowed – avgas, jet A. diesel, bio fuels, H2, electricity

      • MPGe = energy equivalent of 1 gallon of 87 octane gasoline (115,000 BTU)

    Worksheet 1 preliminary design
    Worksheet 1: investigations, research, and data Preliminary Design

    -Pick a name for your “company” and assign tasks.

    -Define the problem or goal.

     -Present a preliminary design based on an existing glider. 

    -Select a green, efficient propulsion system, and explain why it is a good choice.  

    -Explain how your design will meet the competition requirements.

    -Determine expected performance to include maximum speed, stall speed, power requirements, total aircraft weight, take-off distance. 

    -Estimate the cost of the project and show how you determined your cost.  

    -Make a poster of your preliminary design with important dimensions, parameters, and performance data.

    -What are major issues with airlines as far as the environment?

    -What can be done to make air travel more environmentally friendly and energy efficient?

    -How could you increase lift and thrust and also decrease weight and drag for your design?

    Worksheet 2 getting airborne
    Worksheet 2: investigations, research, and data Getting Airborne

    If the aircraft takes off at 5 mph greater than stall speed, how fast must it be going to meet the take-off distance requirement? Show your work and consider units. 

    If the aircraft starts from rest on the runway, how much time will it take to reach take-off speed?

    Calculate the rate of acceleration. Show your work.

    Draw a force diagram for the airplane as it rolls down the runway. Determine a reasonable value for rolling friction and calculate the other forces.

    Based on your calculations, how much net force must the aircraft have to meet your acceleration requirement?

    Does your motor provide enough thrust to reach take-off speed? Show your calculations and explain.

    Worksheet 3 flight performance critical design review
    Worksheet 3: investigations, research, and data Flight Performance/Critical Design Review

    Draw a qualitative force diagram indicating all of the forces acting on the airplane in flight.

    Assuming that the lift to drag ratio is the same as the glide ratio of the airplane, calculate the drag force on the airplane at the best glide speed.

    Determine the thrust required for level flight at the best glide airspeed. Explain how you know.

    Will your airplane fly in level flight at the best glide speed? Explain.

    Determine the thrust required for the airplane to fly at 100 mph. Show your work.

    Will your airplane fly in level flight at 100kts? Explain.

    Determine the energy required for your airplane to go 200miles at an average speed of 100 mph. Show your work. There are several ways to calculate this.

    Worksheet 4 final design
    Worksheet 4: investigations, research, and data Final Design

    • Determine the efficiency of your propulsion system by calculating or explaining how much of the fuel energy is actually used to propel the aircraft.

    • Explain how energy is stored and transferred during the flight.

    • Is energy conserved? Explain or show why or why not.

    • Explain the benefits of your design in terms of:

      • Performance

      • Environmental impact

      • Cost

    • What other technologies should be considered to improve the efficiency of air travel and reduce the impact to the environment?

    Learning module 2 build a fan cart
    Learning Module #2: investigations, research, and data Build a Fan Cart

    -Proof of concept model for an electric airplane

    -Module will augment units on electricity and Newton’s Laws

    Stuff you need to make the cart
    Stuff you need to make the cart investigations, research, and data

    Small electric motors



    Connectors and wires


    Metal brackets (6-8 cm)

    C – clamps

    Dynamic carts

    To take data for the cart:



    -Motion detectors, photogates, camera or stopwatches

    Fan cart objectives
    Fan Cart Objectives investigations, research, and data

    Design and construct an electrical circuit with a battery, motor, switch, ammeter and voltmeter. (SC.912.P.10.16: Explain the relationship between moving charges and magnetic fields, as well as changing magnetic fields and electric fields, and their application to modern technologies.)

    Determine voltage, current, power, and energy usage of the circuit. (SC.912.P.10.15: Investigate and explain the relationships among current, voltage, resistance, and power.)

    Represent the propulsion system of an energy efficient aircraft by mounting it on a dynamic cart. (SC.912.N.3.5: Describe the function of models in science, and identify the wide range of models used in science.)

    Experimentally determine the thrust of the propulsion system. (SC.912.P.12.3: Interpret and apply Newton's three laws of motion. )

    Worksheet 1 electricity
    Worksheet 1: Electricity investigations, research, and data

    1. Draw an electrical circuit that includes an electric motor, battery and switch. Include a voltmeter and ammeter to measure voltage and current.

    2. After your teacher has checked your circuit design, use the components provided to make the circuit. Mount the propeller on the motor and the motor on the metal bracket, then secure the bracket to the edge of the table with the C-clamp.

    3. Determine voltage, current, and resistance of the circuit.

    4. What is the power of the circuit? Show your work. 

    5. How much energy will be transferred by the circuit in 5 seconds? Show your work.

    6. Would your answers to the above questions change if the propeller was replaced with a smaller propeller? Explain why or why not. Be specific.

    Worksheet 2 force and motion
    Worksheet 2: Force and Motion investigations, research, and data

    • Run the cart on the track. Describe the motion.

    • 2. Draw a force diagram for the cart and label each force with a numerical value.

    • 3. What could you do to compensate for the friction between the cart and track?

    • 4. Explain how you can experimentally determine the thrust provided by the propeller.

    • 5. Calculate the work done to move the cart the length of the track.

    • 6. Calculate the energy expended to move the cart from rest for 5 seconds.

    • 7. How does the mechanical energy calculated in worksheet 2 compare to the electrical energy calculated in worksheet 1? Explain any differences.

    • 8. Explain how you would use this model to determine thrust and power requirements to accelerate a full scale airplane.

    More good stuff
    More Good Stuff investigations, research, and data

    Practical applications of graphs
    Practical Applications of Graphs investigations, research, and data