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Aerospace 2016, 3(3), 26; doi:10.3390/aerospace3030026

Optimization of a Human-Powered Aircraft Using Fluid–Structure Interaction Simulations

Department of Flow, Heat and Combustion Mechanics, Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, Ghent University, Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 41, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Hossein Zare-Behtash and Kiran Ramesh
Received: 26 May 2016 / Revised: 21 August 2016 / Accepted: 24 August 2016 / Published: 26 August 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fluid-Structure Interactions)


The special type of aircrafts in which the human power of the pilot is sufficient to take off and sustain flight are known as Human-Powered Aircrafts (HPAs). To explore the peculiarities of these aircrafts, the aerodynamic performance of an existing design is evaluated first, using both the vortex lattice method and computational fluid dynamics. In a second step, it is attempted to design and optimize a new HPA capable of winning the Kremer International Marathon Competition. The design will be special in that it allows one to include a second pilot on board the aircraft. As the structural deflection of the wing is found to be a key aspect during design, fluid–structure interaction simulations are performed and included in the optimization procedure. To assess the feasibility of winning the competition, the physical performance of candidate pilots is measured and compared with the predicted required power. View Full-Text
Keywords: human-powered aircraft; vortex lattice method; computational fluid dynamics; fluid–structure interaction; optimization human-powered aircraft; vortex lattice method; computational fluid dynamics; fluid–structure interaction; optimization

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Vanderhoydonck, B.; Santo, G.; Vierendeels, J.; Degroote, J. Optimization of a Human-Powered Aircraft Using Fluid–Structure Interaction Simulations. Aerospace 2016, 3, 26.

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